New York State

Commission on Judicial Conduct

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July to Dec. 2008
 

Press Release Dated November 19, 2008, Regarding Binghamton City Court Judges Mary Anne Lehmann and William C. Pelella (Broome County)

Press Release Dated November 7, 2008, Regarding Acting Supreme Court Justice Michael R. Ambrecht (New York County).

Press Release Dated November 6, 2008, Regarding Chazy Town Justice Robert G. Dunlop (Clinton County).

Press Release Dated September 3, 2008, Regarding Jewett Town Justice Rebecca McGowan (Greene County).

Press Release Dated September 3, 2008, Regarding Cairo Town Justice Thomas W. Baldwin (Greene County).

Press Release Dated August 13, 2008, Regarding Hudson Falls Village Justice Michael M. Feeder (Washington County).

Press Release Dated August 18, 2008, Regarding Hudson Falls Village Justice Michael M. Feeder (Washington County)

 

NEWS RELEASE

July 21, 2008

 

Contacts:

Robert H. Tembeckjian, Administrator

(646) 386-4800

Beth S. Bar, Public Information Officer

(646 ) 386-4791

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has determined that Marie Roller, a Justice of the Veteran Town Court and Acting Justice of the Millport Village Court, Chemung County, should be censured.

In a determination dated July 7, 2008, the Commission found that Judge Roller failed to deposit or have her court staff deposit thousands of dollars in court funds in a timely manner from May 2004 to April 2005 in violation of court system rules.  From July 2001 to April 2005, in some instances, cash and money orders were placed in court files and neglected for months and years at a time.  There is no indication that any court funds were stolen or otherwise misappropriated.  As a result of the Commissionís inquiry, all funds were accounted for and deposits were made.

The Commission also found that from April 2001 to February 2006, Judge Roller failed to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regarding 49 defendants who had failed to appear in court or answer charges against them, and 61 defendants who did not pay a total of $7,430 in fines and/or surcharges that she imposed, in violation of law.

The Commission concluded that Judge Rollerís ďneglectĒ promoted ďdisrespect for the administration of justice, deprived state and local authorities of thousands of dollars that should have been collected [in a timely manner], and enabled defendants whose licenses should have been suspended to continue to drive for months or years.Ē

The determination can be found on the Commissionís website: www.scjc.state.ny.us

The Commission Proceedings

Judge Roller was served with a Formal Written Complaint dated January 24, 2007, and filed an answer dated February 15, 2007. William T. Easton, Esq., who served as referee, filed a report on March 20, 2008. The parties submitted briefs with respect to the refereeís report, but they waived the right to present oral arguments.

The Commission Determination

The Commission filed a determination dated July 7, 2008, in which seven members concurred.  

Commission Vice Chair Stephen R. Coffey and member Joseph W. Belluck agreed that Judge Roller should be censured for the DMV charge but voted to dismiss the late-deposit charges because related administrative problems had been resolved and there was no indication that any money was missing.

Commission member Colleen C. DiPirro was not present, and Commission member Elizabeth B. Hubbard was appointed to the Commission after the vote on this matter was taken.

Court of Appeals Review

The Commission transmitted its determination to the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, pursuant to Judiciary Law Section 44, subdivision 7.

A judge may either accept the Commission's determination or, within 30 days from the date he received the determination, make a written request to the Chief Judge for a review of the determination by the Court of Appeals. 

Pursuant to Judiciary Law Section 44, subdivision 7, if Judge Roller does not request review by the Court of Appeals, the Commission will censure her in accordance with the determination.   

If the Commissionís determination is reviewed by the Court of Appeals, the Court may accept the determined sanction, impose a different sanction including admonition, censure or removal, or impose no sanction.

Statistics Relating to Prior Determinations

Since 1978, the Commission has censured 269 judges in New York State, 191 of them town or village justices.  (More than two-thirds of the judiciary in New York State are part-time).  The Commission has issued a determination of removal as to 158 judges and has admonished 222 judges. 

The Court of Appeals has reviewed 86 Commission determinations.  The Court accepted the Commissionís sanctions in 72 cases.  Of the remaining 14 cases, two were increased from censure to removal, and twelve were reduced:  nine removal determinations were modified to censure, two censure determinations were modified to admonition, and one censure was rejected and the charges dismissed.

Counsel

In the proceedings before the Commission, Judge Roller represented herself. Robert H. Tembeckjian, Esq., Administrator and Counsel to the Commission, and John J. Postel, Esq., Deputy Administrator for the Commissionís Rochester office, served as counsel to the Commission. Senior Investigator Rebecca Roberts assisted in the investigation. 

Members of the Commission 

The Commission members serve four-year terms.  A list of members is appended.

The Public File

The determination is attached.  It is also available for inspection during regular business hours at the Commission's three offices, by appointment:

61 Broadway

New York, New York 10006

 

Corning Tower, Suite 2301

Empire State Plaza

Albany, New York 12223

 

400 Andrews Street

Rochester, New York 14604

 

MEMBERS OF THE STATE COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL CONDUCT

Member

Appointing Authority

Term Expiration

 Hon. Thomas A. Klonick, Chair

Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye

March 31, 2009

 Stephen R. Coffey, Esq., Vice Chair

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno

March 31, 2011

Joseph W. Belluck, Esq.

Governor David A. Paterson

March 31, 2012

Colleen C. DiPirro

Former Governor George E. Pataki

March 31, 2009

Richard D. Emery, Esq.

Senate Minority Leader Malcolm A. Smith

March 31, 2012

Paul B. Harding, Esq.

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco

March 31, 2009

Elizabeth B. Hubbard

Governor David A. Paterson

March 31, 2011

Marvin E. Jacob, Esq.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver

March 31, 2010

Hon. Jill Konviser

Former Governor George E. Pataki

March 31, 2010

Hon. Karen K. Peters

Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye

March 31, 2010

Hon. Terry Jane Ruderman

Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye

March 31, 2012

 

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NEWS RELEASE

July 1, 2008

 

Contacts:

Robert H. Tembeckjian, Administrator

(646) 386-4800

Beth S. Bar, Public Information Officer

(646 ) 386-4791

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has completed formal proceedings against June P. Chapman, a justice of the Ellicottville Town Court, Cattaraugus County, who left office on April 28, 2008, while disciplinary proceedings were pending against her.  Pursuant to a stipulation dated May 20, 2008, Judge Chapman agreed never to seek or accept judicial office in the future. On that basis, the proceedings were discontinued and the case was closed.

Under the terms of the stipulation, Judge Chapman waived the statutory provision of confidentiality applicable to Commission proceedings, to the limited extent that the stipulation would be made public. The stipulation indicates the following.

bullet

The Commission served a Formal Written Complaint on Judge Chapman on March 5, 2008. The Complaint contained four charges alleging inter alia that the judge: failed to ensure that defendants in three cases had access to counsel in a timely manner or altogether; failed to deposit bail monies in a timely manner in six cases despite the Commissionís prior censure for such conduct; failed to remit fine receipts in 22 cases to the State Comptroller; and failed to order pre-sentence investigation reports from the Probation Department so that defendants in three cases could be sentenced without delay.

bullet

The Complaint alleged that as a result of Judge Chapmanís conduct, three defendants were forced to spend a week in jail because they were denied access to counsel at all or in a timely manner.  A criminal case was also dismissed because the judge failed to take action, and sentencing dates in three cases were delayed for months.

bullet

Judge Chapman answered the Formal Written Complaint on March 27, 2008, admitting some of the allegations and denying others. She tendered her resignation from judicial office on April 24, 2008, and submitted copies of the resignation to the Ellicottville Town Clerk and the Office of Court Administration.

bullet

Judge Chapman affirmed that she will neither seek nor accept judicial office in the future.

This is the 25th such stipulation since the procedure was instituted in July 2003.

The stipulation and the Commissionís order closing the case can be found on the Commissionís website: www.scjc.state.ny.us

Counsel

Judge Chapman was represented by Diane R. Tiveron, Esq., Hogan & Willig, One John James Audubon Parkway Suite 210, Amherst, New York (716) 636-7600. The Commission was represented by Robert H. Tembeckjian, Esq., Administrator and Counsel to the Commission, and John J. Postel, Esq., Deputy Administrator for the Commissionís Rochester office.  Senior Attorney M. Kathleen Martin and Investigator Betsy Sampson assisted in the case.

Members of the Commission

The Commission members serve four-year terms.  A list of members is appended.

The Public File

The stipulation and order are attached.  They are also available for inspection during regular business hours at the Commission's three offices:

61 Broadway

New York, New York 10006

 

Corning Tower, Suite 2301

Empire State Plaza

Albany, New York 12223

 

400 Andrews Street

Rochester, New York 14604

 

MEMBERS OF THE STATE COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL CONDUCT

Member

Appointing Authority

Term Expiration

 Hon. Thomas A. Klonick, Chair

Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye

March 31, 2009

 Stephen R. Coffey, Esq., Vice Chair

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno

March 31, 2011

Joseph W. Belluck, Esq.

Governor David A. Paterson

March 31, 2012

Colleen C. DiPirro

Former Governor George E. Pataki

March 31, 2009

Richard D. Emery, Esq.

Senate Minority Leader Malcolm A. Smith

March 31, 2012

Paul B. Harding, Esq.

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco

March 31, 2009

Elizabeth B. Hubbard

Governor David A. Paterson

March 31, 2011

Marvin E. Jacob, Esq.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver

March 31, 2010

Hon. Jill Konviser

Former Governor George E. Pataki

March 31, 2010

Hon. Karen K. Peters

Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye

March 31, 2010

Hon. Terry Jane Ruderman

Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye

March 31, 2012

 

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