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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Panel Cites Town Justice for Out-of-Court Conversations

Panel Cites Town Justice for Out-of-Court Conversations
The New York Law Journal by Joel Stashenko  -  April 2, 2012

A town court justice in St. Lawrence County should be censured for having out-of-court conversations about a case before him less than one year after he was warned about doing so in another matter. The state Commission on Judicial Conduct said on March 30 that Fowler Town Court Justice Paul Lamson "should have recognized that such unauthorized communications would compromise his impartiality and create an appearance of impropriety." According to the commission, Lamson discussed with an attorney for the county defender's office a possible sentence for Alan Bigwarfe for an alleged assault in 2009 against his girlfriend. Lamson later followed up with an e-mail to the attorney, whose office had been assigned to the case by Lamson. The justice, who is not an attorney, did not inform the prosecutor of either contact, according to the commission.  The panel also found that Lamson had a conversation with the police chief of the village of Gouverneur about the possibility of Bigwarfe making restitution for damage he had done to an officers' uniform during his arrest. Lamson did not inform the prosecution or the defense about that contact, the commission found.  The panel noted that the commission sent Lamson a "letter of dismissal and caution" in October 2008 after he had made several ex parte phone calls to a represented defendant in an unrelated case. The panel determined that mitigating against a more serious punishment for that conduct was Lamson's acknowledgement of his wrongdoing and pledge not to do it again.


wondering said...

Why does the CJC spend most of their time on these small time judges?

Anonymous said...

The CJC needs spend time on these petty justices and more time on the higher court judges. The CJC is a joke. The naughty justice promised to be good and so everything is alright with staying on the bench.

Anonymous said...

The CJC is a STATE agency like OCA..all of them work in tandem per Albany.
So the CJC told me when I worked with them on a case, that they cannot go after a citizen elected or supposed to be elected JUDGE... unless it gets the OK from NYC Administration or the media presents it to the public without OCA'S approval.
The media exposure forces the CJC to jump into action to quell public outrage after the media blatantly tells the public how corrupt the justice system really is, even thought the CJC is well unaware of that incident, but only then has the ok to get right on it for removal!
CJC is a game that is played and not meant to be a watchdog of any kind.They play the field and if the story plays out publically it gets investigated and if not it usually remains hidden and covered-up..with admonitions and censures for the few that are really nasty but publically unknown.
The Town and Village judges are prime targets because they give the CJC something to receive their typical NY State high salaries for.
Also these judgeships do not require lawyers and therefore the lawyer infested NY State does not protect them.

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