Piraino v. Commission


Salina Town Court Justice Andrew N. Piraino (Onondaga County) brought a petition in State Supreme Court to stop the Commission from proceeding against him on formal disciplinary charges.

The judge and his lawyer filed the petition in the name of “John Doe.”

The matter was assigned to Supreme Court Justice John C. Cherundolo in Syracuse.

On February 7, 2011, Justice Cherundolo signed a temporary restraining order enjoining the Commission from any further proceedings and ordering that the matter be sealed pending a final determination.

After written submissions from the parties, Justice Cherundolo dismissed the petition in its entirety in a decision dated April 26, 2011, and an Order dated May 12, 2011. His Order directed that the matter be unsealed and that the caption be changed to reflect the real name of the petitioner: Andrew N. Piraino v. New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Subsequently, Justice Cherundolo granted Judge Piraino's motion to reconsider and issued a second order that inter alia reversed his first ruling, reinstated the petition, restyled the caption as John Doe v New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, reinstated the Temporary Restraining Order against the Commission, and ordered the Commission to produce volumes of information and material ostensibly going to the merits of the underlying disciplinary charges against Judge Piraino.

The Commission appealed to the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, which issued a Memorandum and Order dated November 9, 2012, in the Commission's favor, unanimously reversing Justice Cherundolo's second Order, reinstating his original order and dismissing Judge Piraino's Article 78 petition.

Judge Piraino was represented by Aaron M. Zimmerman of Syracuse. The Commission was represented by the Office of New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman: Assistant Attorney General Heather R. Rubinstein in Supreme Court, and Assistant Solicitor General Kathleen M. Treasure before the Appellate Division.


Judge Piraino’s Verified Petition and Exhibits, January 20, 2011

Temporary Restraining Order, February 7, 2011

Commission’s Verified Answer and Return and Exhibits, February 18, 2011

Attorney General’s Memorandum of Law, February 18, 2011

Justice Cherundolo’s Decision (April 26, 2011) and Order (May 12, 2011)

Justice Cherundolo’s Order Granting Reconsideration and Vacating His Prior Ruling (September 27, 2011)

Appellate Division Decision of November 9, 2012, Reversing Justice Cherundolo’s September 27 Order, Reinstating His May 12 Order and Dismissing Judge Piraino’s Petition