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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

NY Judge Charged With DWI After Accident

Sloatsburg judge Newman charged with DWI after accident
The Journal News by Steve Lieberman - August 18, 2011

RAMAPO, NY — Longtime Sloatsburg Justice Thomas J. Newman Jr. will lose his driver's license for a year after refusing to take a sobriety test when charged with drunken driving. Newman, however, can continue to sit on the bench and in judgment of other drivers accused of driving while intoxicated, authorities said Wednesday. Even if Newman is convicted of misdemeanor DWI or a lesser charge, he will not lose his judgeship. That can occur only with a felony conviction. Newman, 56, an elected Sloatsburg judge since 1992 and an acting judge since 1980, was charged with driving while intoxicated at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Ramapo police said. After getting off the New York State Thruway at the Sloatsburg-Hillburn Exit 15A, Newman drove his 2006 Toyota into the rear of a 2010 Toyota on Route 17 south, police said. No one was injured, but police were called to the scene. After investigating and talking to Newman and the other driver, Oscar E. Padilla, 60, of Sloatsburg, and his wife, Newman was charged. He refused to take a field breath test, a traffic infraction and automatic license suspension. He also received a traffic summons alleging following too close. Newman was released without bail for a Ramapo Town Court hearing Aug. 25. He voluntarily went to Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, police said. Newman didn't return a telephone call to his law office for comment Wednesday. Newman, a graduate of St. John's University law school in Queens, has been admitted to practicing law in New York since 1980. He's part of a Suffern law firm and is an attorney for local fire districts. His father also was a lawyer and judge.

Though most Sloatsburg residents have little contact with the court, Newman is known through his tenure and family. John Kwasnicki, a longtime resident, said Newman has served the village well, though he doesn't know the details of the arrest. He said he's always seen "Mr. Newman in a sober state" but that the law should be carried out as it would be for any resident charged. "He's been a good judge here for a good number of years," Kwasnicki said. "From what I know, he runs a good court. He's always been a nice person." One incident in Newman's judicial career that stands out occurred in May 2007, when Leo Lewis fired a gun at a young woman suing him inside the Sloatsburg courtroom. Lewis missed the woman he was suing, and the bullet just missed Newman and became embedded in the plastered wall. Newman testified at Lewis' trial, which produced a guilty plea and a 25-year sentence for Lewis. That incident renewed the call for more security in courtrooms around Rockland County, leading Sloatsburg and other courts to get metal detectors and other equipment to check people before they entered the courtroom. Sloatsburg Trustee J. Mark Reimer said he has an "enormous amount of respect for Judge Newman" and hoped the public and judicial system would be as fair to him as he had been to the public as a judge. Reimer said there was no reason for people to call for the judge's resignation or any other draconian action. "I believe he's innocent until proven guilty. We will withhold judgment," Reimer said. "I hope everything will be OK with him and his family." Newman's arrest on the DWI charge will be reviewed and monitored by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct. Robert Tembeckjian, the commission's administrator and chief counsel, said the arrest would initiate an inquiry, but the commission would not take any action until after the case is disposed. He said he couldn't talk specifically about Newman's case. He said he didn't know the details and that Newman could be exonerated, or plead to a lesser charge of driving while impaired , which is not uncommon with first-time offenders. Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said the case would be assessed by his office and prosecuted like any other DWI. Generally, Tembeckjian said, the national standards are that a judge, short of trying to influence the police, would be publicly admonished for a misdemeanor conviction. He said ethical rules don't require a judge to take a sobriety or blood-alcohol test, the same privilege others have. He said the judge also faces the same punishment — loss of license for a year after a hearing by an officer with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Tembeckjian also said judges don't have to disqualify themselves from hearing DWI or any other cases if jurists feel they can review the case fairly. "There have been judges in the past convicted of alcohol-related driving offenses who have taken themselves off DWI cases," he said. "Some have not. If the judge feels he or she can be impartial, there is no authority for the commission to act."

-------------------RELATED STORY:

Sloatsburg judge accused of DWI in crash
News12  -  August 17, 2011

SLOATSBURG - Police say a judge from the Village of Sloatsburg is under arrest for allegedly rear-ending another car while driving drunk. Ramapo cops say Thomas Newman, 56, was driving drunk on Route 17 last night at 7:30 p.m. when he hit another car, driven by 60-year-old Oscar Padilla, of Sloatsburg.  Padilla says he called Ramapo police four times, and that it took an hour and a half for an officer to arrive on scene.  Newman, as well as Padilla and his passenger, were not injured. The judge faces charges of driving while intoxicated, refusing to take a Breathalyzer test and following too close to a vehicle.  Newman is scheduled to appear in Ramapo town court next week.


Anonymous said...

In the old days the arresting cop would be hung, fired and his family destroyed- because he, the cop, did his job...... I guess some thing have gotten better....

Anonymous said...

= one 2008 Toyotoyotata.

1drunkjudge said...

Just did GOOGLE search on "New York Ethics" and it came back 'not found.'

Anonymous said...

How do you expect the PUBLIC to respect the JUDICIARY if their JUDGES can and are driving drunk during and after hours of court, are stealing batteries for guess, etc from stores and are blatantly changing documents of lawyers to show they were not drinking and driving?

The stories I have about state judges and crime are numerous..and that doesn;t include their chief clerks and supervisors.

So when the CJC says they can stay with a Misd does that reconcile with criminals doing the same thing, and being punished WORSE or equal by those judges who have criminal or any type of arrest records? Doesn;t that make the judge of other people's crimes, less credible and unworthy of that position?

Shouldn't Judges, CALLED YOUR HONOR be free of crimnal convictions,all arrests and crimes that cause deadly DWI'S?

I laugh figuratively everday, at the craziness going on in American courts, as we attempt to get other countries to govern like us....should it be... GOD bless America or should it be God BLESS America?

Anonymous said...

At least the local PD gave him an hour and a half to sober up. This case should be adjudicated elsewhere since too many conflicts exist.

Anonymous said...

Any case involving OCA should be adjuducated outside of NY State due to the fact OCA corrupts, alters and commits perjury in all its litigation where they are accused of wrongdoing.
The problem is no one wants that to happen or has problems addressing the issue....but maybe that will change soon.

Disgusted said...

Augustus Caesar said his wife should be above reproach. In NY, the rules are reversed and all NY judges are rightly suspect and very many guilty. With Tembeckjian in charge, NY residents can be assured that injustice will be done.

Anonymous said...

Was this guy setup? The BUZZ is that Cuomo has no use for him. The hatchet-man Rob Tembeckjian (CJC) enters from stage right to steal the deal.

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