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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Complaints Against New York Judges Reach a High

Complaints Against New York Judges Reach a High, but Fewer Merit Investigations
The New York Times by JOHN ELIGON - June 26, 2008

A record number of complaints were filed against New York State judges in 2007, according to a report by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. But the number of complaints that warranted a full investigation during that time was lower than it had been in a decade, the report said.

The commission, which has been collecting grievances since 1975, submitted the report to the State Legislature last month. It encompasses all of the state’s roughly 3,500 judges, including Supreme Court justices, city and county court judges, and justices in villages and towns. There were 1,711 complaints filed against judges last year, the report said. That number is up from the previous high over the past decade: 1,565 complaints in 2005. Nearly 1,300 of the 2007 complaints were found to have no basis and were dismissed almost immediately, while more than 400 others were sent on for preliminary inquiries. The commission found 192 of the complaints to be potentially valid and sent them on for full-fledged inquiries. The last time that fewer than 200 complaints were sent on for full investigation was in 1997, when there were 172.

“I think that the fact that there is less substantiated wrongdoing shows that the judges are doing an outstanding job,” said David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the Office of the Court Administration. Five judges were removed last year, 10 were censured and 9 admonished. But some of those punishments were the result of complaints pending prior to 2007. The record number of complaints was more indicative of the public’s increased awareness of the commission’s duties, not the performance of judges, said Robert H. Tembeckjian, the administrator of the agency. Mr. Tembeckjian cited several reasons for the commission’s increased exposure, including wider use of the Internet and reports in the news media.

He cited a series in The New York Times in 2006 that found a long history of judicial misconduct and poor training in small-town courts in New York. Mr. Tembeckjian also mentioned several instances of judicial misconduct that were widely publicized. Last November, Robert M. Restaino, a judge on the Niagara Falls City Court, was removed for sending 46 defendants who sat in his courtroom into police custody after no one took responsibility for a cellphone that rang in the courtroom. Mr. Tembeckjian said he received media inquiries in that case from around the globe. As people see the commission acting on judicial misconduct, Mr. Tembeckjian said, they become more inclined to file complaints.

“As the public and civic organizations and lawyers become more confident and satisfied that the commission will seriously treat their complaints,” Mr. Tembeckjian said, “there tends to be more public confidence in the commission’s discharge of its responsibilities.” In more than half the cases last year — 941 — the complaints were about a judge’s decision. Those complaints were immediately dismissed because that is an issue for an appellate court, Mr. Tembeckjian said. A judge’s demeanor drew the second most number of complaints last year with 235, the report said. The subject of other complaints include claims of delays, conflicts of interest, bias, corruption and intoxication.


Anonymous said...

this is bullsh-t! That scumb-g David Bookstaver, this kiss ass should be fired NOW! This is all part of a whitewash to protect the corrupt Judges along with the other court personal.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. There is one particular judge in Westchester that had at least 13 complaints last year alone and this committee said that they were unfounded, without any investigation.
How can so many people make complaints that would be "unfounded"?

Anonymous said...

NY TIMES... It's time to come clean about the massive corruption in the Courts. Run a story on the (10) Filed Federal Civil Rights lawsuits regarding the DDC, OCA, CJC and the white-washing of complaints against certain select attorneys for POLTICAL REASONS.

Anonymous said...

with all the corruption involving Judges,their Clerk's and helpers the true numbers are much higher. The coverup and whitewashing continues. When will the truth come out? If we all knew the real numbers these people would all be in JAIL.

Anonymous said...

OCA'S Bookstaver should ask the CJC how many complaints they refused to even take for filing .....once the CJC heard the names of the judges involved!
OCA is so phony in everything they ever comment on ...believing they fool readers from where..... in NY STATE?!
The filings are up and those processed or investigated are on a 10 YR ridiculous that is in this well acknowledged environment of corruption.
These stats alone should spur an investigation into the CJC , to examine whether they are properly taking filings and assessing them..non-politically. I know they are not!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, there needs to be an investigation, but these idiots (OCA) shouldn't be investigating themselves (and which is the core problem: thugs investigating themselves) BRING IN THE U.S. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO INVESTIGATE. It's the only way...

Anonymous said...

Here I will give you some Judges in need of investigation in Orange County:

Judge Andrew Bivona
Judge Debra Kiediash
Judge John K. McGuirk

Begin with those and follow the yellow brick road. If you don't believe me maybe ex Judge Horrowitz can tell you his secrets!!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where ex-Judge Horrorwitz is now?

Zoey said...

Apparently no one at OCA sees a problem with..

my estranged husband living with a panepinto(1st), working for another panepinto(2nd) in the CYO who happens to be married to judge panepinto (3rd) and my being taken out of my children's lives completely since the ex moved in with the (1st)panepinto based on hearsay and fraud.

The commission found NO REASON to investigate this??

Way ta go OCA! Great job!

Anonymous said...

ny lawyer said:

what a joke and hogwash and surprising the NY Times goes with this - about 2 years ago around 2006 the Times did a Good story and investigation on problems statewide in the Town and Local Courts - while many of these problems are true, apparently the focus from the "higher ups" in the System where the REAL problems and corruption exist is to Go after all the Town and Local judges, who are NOT as politically Connected or viable in the system to make it "LOOK" like the system does a lot - in Upstate there are Volumes of Complaints that are Dismissed without ANY inquiry, NOT EVEN a single Phone call to "clarify" any part of the complaint - Statistically unlikely that every one of these complaints had NO merit - OCA is certainly part of the problem and it would have done the NY Times and the public better if the Times did the same level of Investigation for this story that the Times did against the Town judges

Anonymous said...

and the complaints keep coming and coming!!!!!!!! There is no way these clerks can cover this up any longer.

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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
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