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Friday, February 29, 2008

Westchester Judge Awaits Ethics Ruling (MORE, CLICK HERE)

Judge awaits panel's ethics decision
by Jonathan Bandler - The Journal News - February 29, 2008

MOUNT VERNON - Associate City Judge Adam Seiden has represented several development projects before the Mount Vernon planning and zoning boards in apparent violation of ethics guidelines for judges.

Seiden said yesterday that he was unfamiliar with opinions by the New York State Bar Association's Committee on Professional Ethics and the state court system's Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics until the issue was brought to his attention Friday by The Journal News. He said he has written to the advisory committee asking it to reconsider. "But if they uphold (the opinion), I can't do that work and I won't do that work," he said, adding that he would not take on any new clients until he heard back from the committee.

In 1992, the state bars' committee directed that part-time judges should not appear before zoning and planning boards in municipalities where they serve because of the potential for the appearance of impropriety. The Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics issued similar opinions in 1990 and 1998. The concern was that public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary could be damaged if a lawyer appearing before those boards was also a judge within the same governmental entity.

Seiden stepped down from the Mount Vernon Board of Education in 1995 to become an associate city judge. He is also a past president of the Westchester County Bar Association. He said he began doing land-use work only in recent years and probably has represented 10 to 12 clients before the boards during that time. He recently won zoning board approval for several variances that would permit a 14-story, 150-foot apartment building on East Third Street, where the zoning prohibits buildings taller than 30 feet.

That ruling is being challenged in state Supreme Court by a neighbor who contends the project was rushed through without appropriate review by the city.

Full-time judges may not practice as lawyers, but part-time judges can. Seiden said it never occurred to him to ask whether he could be a judge and appear before the planning or zoning boards because the City Court has no jurisdiction over them. "I never even thought about it before," he said.

He said it was not uncommon for his clients to come before him on other matters when he is a judge and that he recuses himself. The opinions warning judges not to take on clients in land-use cases in their communities are advisory and neither the state bar nor the advisory committee has enforcement power.

Violations could be reported to the state Commission on Judicial Conduct.


Anonymous said...

I hear the sounds of federal agents swooping in to handcuff those who have violated the public trust for personal financial gain: judges, lawyers, state and local employees, etc. This blog is right, plain and simple- this is corruption, and this is where I live- Westchester. I'm saddened and ashamed.

Anonymous said...

Any real probe into the 9th Judicial District would surely result in half of the courts being shut down because it's that bad, and the corruption runs widely through the courtsystem.

Anonymous said...

this type of thing has been going on in Mt. Vernon for years, as long as I remember. Adam Seiden could have asked his old buddy "tough" Tony Scarpino who pulled the same tricks years ago for a few pointers. Hey, maybe Tony did give Alan a few tips on how to game the system. These low life's don't care about any thing except themsleves and money.

Anonymous said...

please, be nice. some very nice thugs came from Mount Vernon. and yes, some are now judges.

Anonymous said...

just out of Valhalla prison yesterday after 20 charming days spent there. conviction secured though prosectorial misconduct and perjury. the judge held on to my 440.10 to make it easy for the appellate court to deny my appeal, as it sought to introduce blatant withholding of exculpatory information and perjury by their complainant.
Now that my appeal has been denied, it makes it easier for the judge to deny my 440.10 by deferring to the appellate court's decision. Cozy, isn't it?
as the 440.10 still has not been ruled on (submitted last July!), I will wait to provide names until then. pure Westchester.

Anonymous said...

this guy is a political hack and a lousy attorney

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2