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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Judge Suspended Over Fraud

Judge Suspended for Three Years, Pols Call for Ouster, Over Fraud
The Associated Press by David Tirrell-Wysocki - April 18, 2008

CONCORD, N.H. - The state Supreme Court on Friday suspended Judge Patricia Coffey for three years after concluding she was complicit in a fraudulent property transfer and evasive and misleading to investigators. The unpaid suspension is 12 times longer than a disciplinary panel recommended, but even it falls short of what she could face. Gov. John Lynch has called on her to resign, and legislators are considering a bill that would oust her for having tarnished the integrity of the judiciary. An all-day hearing is scheduled for next Friday.

Coffey, a Superior Court judge in Rockingham County, has admitted helping shield her lawyer-husband's assets as he was being disbarred three years ago. She said she realized then the state probably would demand that he pay thousands of dollars to cover the cost of investigation him. "We hold that the recommended three-month suspension must be increased to three years to re-establish confidence in the judiciary and protect 'the public from further acts of misconduct,'" the court wrote in a 4-1 decision. Justice Richard Galway dissented, saying Coffey should have been kicked off the bench indefinitely.

Coffey's husband, John Coffey, was disbarred in 2005 for exploiting an elderly client with dementia. Property John Coffey owned with his wife was transferred into a family trust four days before he was notified he had been found guilty of misconduct and would face discipline. The justices found that Judge Coffey participated in a fraud by transferring the property, disregarded an explicit court order to repay the costs of her husband's disbarrment investigation, and was evasive and misleading about her actions.

The court's Judicial Conduct Committee investigates misconduct by judges and recommends punishment. The committee's recommendation for censure and a three-month suspension for Coffey was based, in part, on its conclusion that she had cooperated with the investigation. But the high court said the record showed she was "not completely forthright." In his dissent, Galway said the court should have suspended Coffey indefinitely, the strongest punishment available to it.

"The sanction imposed must take into account the concerns of future litigants who appear before Judge Coffey and question why they would need to follow the rule of law that she imposes upon them when she herself has not followed the law," Galway wrote. A man who answered the Coffeys' home telephone in Rye Friday afternoon said the judge wasn't there. Her lawyer, Russell Hilliard, did not immediately return a call seeking reaction.

Judge Coffey recently asked permission to take on more outside work because she said her financial situation is perilous. She said she could lose her house during an unpaid suspension. The Supreme Court wasted little time turning her down. Coffey earns $130,000 a year, and rules permit outside earnings of 15 percent of that.


Anonymous said...

What a dummy. If you're going to be a corrupt judge, you need to do it in New York where Mr. Tembejian's useless crew can, if you're their friend, let you off the hook.

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct motto is: "Concerning our monied friends, we've yet to see an act of judicial misconduct so severe that we wouldn't whitewash, derail or otherwise ignore."

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the above writer. If you want to get away with murder, just go to NYC. There you'll find corrupt Judges, lawyers, ADA's, and oh yes, the good old Attorney General's Office, Public Integrity Group once headed by slimey "Horn Dog", Eliot Spitzer.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I almost forgot to mention the "Good Old Boys Club Crew" at the First Departmental Disciplinary Committee, Thomas Cahill's buddies. If you filed a grievance complaint at the First Departmental Grievance Committee against an attorney who was part of the "Boys Club Crew",(Politically Connected),you could rest assured they were dismissed, squashed, had no merit, and or delayed for years, after you were given the complete run around.

Anonymous said...

I believe in NY STATE COURTS, many have forgotten or do not know that OCA'S "legal dept". is a major player in the MANIPULATION, ADVISING AND CENTER OF THE CORRUPTION , while in hiding or the background of ALL of Oca's decisions to screw the attorneys, taxpayers and employees!
It may have a bunch of small minded, non- intellectual counsel, BUT LOOK AT THE BENEFITS.This is a bunch of losers with BIG salaries, who would do anything criminal to keep that money, the power and of course absolutely have no conscience when committing multiple crimes! Just keep an eye on one big one...JOHN SULLIVAN and the rest will file out like rats! This is the group that the SUPERVISING judges use to check the law and see how it can be twisted to fit their deceit. You don't think these ADMINISTRATIVE AND CHIEF JUDGES actually read any law! This is where it is done..FACT!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Appellate Court Second department will look into suspending Gary Greenwald, Esq. from Chester New York for fraud. The feds need to investigate the actions of this attorney which led to the sexual exploitation of a minor, child pornography, child prostitution and who knows what else. The grievance committee needs to stop protecting attorneys who are BREAKING THE LAW.

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