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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Big Bucks Appellate Judge Voted Out

Incumbent Shock
Judicial Reports by Mark Lagerkvist - November 5, 2008

In the wake of an investigation by Judicial Reports, an Albany-area Justice is voted out of office. The Supreme Court candidate with the largest campaign war chest in New York State was defeated in Tuesday’s election. Incumbent Justice Anthony J. Carpinello lost to challenger Rensselaer County Court Judge Patrick McGrath in the Supreme Court’s Third Judicial District. McGrath led 130,447 to 102,914 with 72 percent of the voting districts reporting. The Third District consists of Albany, Rensselaer, Green, Ulster, Sullivan and Schoharie counties. The defeat will also cost Carpinello his seat on the bench of the Appellate Division’s Third Department. Carpinello’s campaign raised $238,026 in cash – far more than any of the other 52 Supreme Court candidates competing in races across New York, according to the latest disclosures filed with the State Board of Elections. In contrast, McGrath received $97,684 in contributions.

One of the political gifts to Carpinello – $10,000 from the Albany law firm of Powers & Santola in May – was the focus of a Judicial Reports investigation. The contribution occurred during an appeal brought by Powers & Santola. Carpinello cast a deciding vote and wrote the majority opinion in a 3-2 decision in favor of the appellant. Last week, the judge also participated in a unanimous vote to deny the respondent leave to appeal that decision to the State Court of Appeals. Carpinello and Powers & Santola have denied any impropriety. Senior partner John K. Powers said his firm also contributed $10,000 to McGrath, who did not return calls from Judicial Reports. In an interview last week, Justice Carpinello was critical of a system that only permits judges to be politically active during their election year. The maze of campaign finance rules governing candidates is detailed in a Judicial Reports analysis. “I’m fighting for my political life,” said Carpinello. “The last time the voters saw me was 14 years ago. How are they supposed to remember me? For the last 13 of my 14 years, I’ve been barred from any political involvement. In a mere matter of months, I am expected to reintroduce myself to a half-million voters in the seven counties.”

Carpinello, a Republican, had hoped to avoid an election contest by winning a cross-endorsement from the Democratic Party. However, McGrath squeaked out the nomination by a 41-39 vote of delegates at the party’s judicial convention in September. As a result, Carpinello was forced to wage an active campaign. “For six months, I’ve been in front of grocery stores handing out cards every day,” said Carpinello. “You have no idea what it is like to stand in the hot sun next to a garbage can for five hours – not move from the spot, not go to the bathroom – and stand there and shake the hand of every person who goes into that grocery store.” Despite the indignities of campaigning, Carpinello said he believes judges should be chosen by elections, not by political appointments. “I would rather be elected by someone I shook hands with at the supermarket, not any political boss,” said Carpinello. “So I think that’s a healthy thing that judges get elected.”


Anonymous said...

This is a good start against a bad judge. Now take his law license away.

Anonymous said...

Too bad he couldn't fix the election. Are there any left over campaign contributions? They will not go into his pocket?

Anonymous said...

give this guy a chance however if he's a bum hang him! Think that the problem of corruption runs much too deep.

Anonymous said...

probably not the heart of the corruption but with the judicial conduct commission connections one never knows.

but probably he has seen and maybe even been a part of those Third Dept cases where the Actual records and documents are never even read and a fixed result or desired result is just plugged in for the favored party

and he definitely was way out of touch with his TV ad about doing everything solely on the facts and law that cost him a lot of money most likely and in some part maybe even the election by puffing a false and misleading position

and if he does not want to attribute "politics" to some of his actions and decisions then you either have a state of denial or perhaps more

Anonymous said...

He's a bum. His TV ads were frauds. All those decisions protecting the scum beneath him. He received lots of cash to campaign and we know those who gave wanted something in return. Just another scum bag not able to continue as a judge.

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