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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Balls: Disrobed Judge Still Gets "Robe Allowance"

Disrobed judge can still collect state's ‘robe allowance’
The Buffalo News by Matthew Spina - March 7, 2009

Joseph G. Makowski has been disrobed. Yet he can still collect a “robe allowance.” State court officials said Makowski remains eligible for about $1,700 in so-called robe-allowance money even though he was forced to resign Friday from the State Supreme Court bench. Chalk it up to the system. For most judges the annual checks for a taxable $5,000 arrived this week. Makowski says he didn’t get his. But he eventually will be paid a reduced amount reflecting his midyear resignation, said David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the state Office of Court Administration. The $5,000 “judicial supplemental support allowance” allows full-time judges to buy and maintain their robes and cover other expenses. Part-time judges receive lesser amounts. Bookstaver said Makowski’s allowance will be prorated to reflect the four months he served since Nov. 1 when the current expense-year began. That will work out to about $1,700, rather than the full $5,000, Bookstaver said.

Makowski, reached Friday afternoon, refused to speak publicly on the matter, and he was not raising a fuss over his robe allowance. He and his staff had been working over the last two weeks to close out cases and to draw the curtain on his 10 years as a jurist. “He has been a fair judge to everyone who came before him,” said Lorraine Ceccarelli, Makowski’s court clerk for the last four years. For several local lawyers, however, Makowski’s forced departure was no occasion for sorrow. Take William C. Altreuter, a lawyer who writes a blog about his observations on the law and other interests. “The most important quality that a judge can have is a good judicial temperament,” Altreuter said. “There isn’t enough black silk in the world to conceal the fact that this was something he was sadly lacking.” Late last month, Makowski chose to resign rather than face a charge in connection with his attempt to help Anne E. Adams, an attorney friend, evade drunken-driving charges. He had stated in an affidavit that Adams drank little and appeared fit to drive when they were together on the evening of Sept. 2. Other witnesses offered a distinctly different view of Adams that night. District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said Makowski and Adams had tried to fix her case. Makowski, 55, still could be suspended or disbarred by the Attorney Grievance Committee. The judgeship paid $136,700 a year, and Makowski initially announced that his resignation would be effective March 5 — Thursday. He later sent a letter telling Administrative Judge Sharon Townsend that he would make Friday his last day, to deal with pending cases. News Staff Reporter Matt Gryta contributed to this report.


Anonymous said...

The courts are corrupt and this is yet another example of the fact. It also shows that the "system" takes good care of their members.

Anonymous said...

This is really could clean 500 wedding dresses for that amount!
No Judge I know of even spends close to that on their wardrobe for "under" that $5000 gown. As a matter of fact...most judges I worked for never cleaned their "one" robe all year and usually left it wrinkled..slung over some office furniture for the next 3-4 hr workday.
I never saw one dry cleaning bag in the many years working for them!
Makowski was lucky and surprisingly not criminally charged... and the $1700 should be a gift back to the taxpayer for allowing him to remain unconvicted!
What other money is OCA hiding from our knowledge , that they give quietly to our raise- begging judiciary? All my years there, I never heard of this perk.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what other little "expense reimbursements" these dress-wearing babes are collecting.

Anonymous said...

Most of you don't realize these robes are regularly sent to Hell for recharging and the devil isn't cheap.

Anonymous said...

$5000 to maintain one garment, worn a few hours a day for a few days per week...sounds outrageous in these financially depressed times and with the NY state Governor attempting to tax all of us for anything and everything.

Why has the Governor not made any attempts to reduce his salary and those of the ruling state government and especially the extensive state perks for those of the high end government and judiciary??

Kaye snuck in this extreme salary perk to circumvent the raise that she could not extract, while she was in her reign of terror.

These are the games Kaye and OCA play daily, to covertly hand out money to the wealthy government players. Judges should reject this payment as extraordinary and judically Americans are loosing their jobs, homes and health insurance or hand it over to a food bank!

I know very few will reject this payment, because so many of them feel entitled by the very nature of being picked by the political parties to become a NY STATE Judge... no matter what the real money tossing or political payback reasons were.

Post all the names of the judiciary that returned the money...the list will be shorter!

Anonymous said...

Damn! I'm so tired of hearing stories of special privilege for judges.
It's no wonder why these tyrants need security guards 24/7.

Every blogger should write to Lippman. Tell him how REPULSED you are by this pampering.
MAKE HIM order every judge to return $4500 to the People.

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