The push for Impeachment proceedings follows the recent confirmation that the statewide judicial ethics committee, the Commission on Judicial Conduct (the "CJC"), was itself corrupt. The chief counsel of the CJC, Robert Tembeckjian, and his former deputy, Alan W. Friedberg, have become icons of the current statewide ethics scandal in New York-- known as Tammany Hall 2--- a systemic collection of whitewashing and cover-up. Tembeckjian's and Friedberg's recent testimony in Albany at the New York State Senate Judiciary hearings on June 8, 2009 stunned those who read the written transcript, or who had viewed the hearing videos. (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE HEARING VIDEOS)
In New York State, "articles of impeachment" begin in the State Assembly and require a simple majority vote "to impeach" by members of the New York State Assembly. The impeachment process then moves to the Impeachment Court and the New York State Senate where a conviction, and removal, requires a two-thirds majority vote after a trial. The most famous trial by the New York Impeachment Court involved Governor "Plain Bill" William Sulzer in 1913. His troubled short reign as a Tammany Hall backed governor lasted less than 10 months. Sulzer is the only NY governor to have ever been impeached.
The "Court for the Trial of Impeachments and the Correction of Errors" was established by the New York State Constitution in 1777. The body considered improper acts of a political, moral or ethical nature, along "other subjective points of view". In 1846, the "Court for the Correction of Errors" was abolished as its jurisdiction was transferred to the New York State Court of Appeals. The existing New York "Court for the Trial of Impeachments" has also been called the "impeachment Court" and the "High Court of Impeachment". In New York, Article 6, Section 24, of the New York State Constitution applies:
Court for trial of impeachments; judgment
24. The assembly shall have the power of impeachment by a vote of a majority of all the members elected thereto. The court for the trial of impeachments shall be composed of the president of the senate, the senators, or the major part of them, and the judges of the court of appeals, or the major part of them. On the trial of an impeachment against the governor or lieutenant-governor, neither the lieutenant-governor nor the temporary president of the senate shall act as a member of the court. No judicial officer shall exercise his or her office after articles of impeachment against him or her shall been preferred to the senate, until he or she shall have been acquitted. Before the trial of an impeachment, the members of the court shall take an oath or affirmation truly and impartially to try the impeachment according to the evidence, and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office, or removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any public office of honor, trust, or profit under this state; but the party impeached shall be liable to indictment and punishment according to law. (Amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001)
The written Impeachment request by Integrity in the Courts to all members of the New York State Assembly will be posted here at 9am on Monday, August 24, 2009.