Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New York conduct commission votes to discipline three judges

ALBANY, N.Y., Dec 27 (Reuters) - The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended discipline for three judges, including one who took part in a profane exchange with a 17-year-old criminal defendant.

The commission on Thursday said Buffalo City Court Judge James McLeod should be admonished for his "crude and offensive manner" in speaking with the defendant, who was not named, in February 2011. McLeod made the comments after the defendant hurled obscenities at him, the commission said.

"Even in the face of provocative, disrespectful comments by a litigant, a judge is required to be an exemplar of decorum and dignity in the courtroom, and not allow the proceedings to devolve into an undignified exchange of taunts, insults and obscenities," the commission wrote in its determination.
It said McLeod, who has been a judge since 1999, accepted "full responsibility" for the exchange. Admonishment is the mildest form of discipline the panel may recommend.

McLeod did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His attorney, Michael Mohun, was not available to comment.

The panel on Thursday also censured Erie County Family Court Judge Paul Buchanan and admonished Douglas Horton, the town justice in Mexico, Oswego County.

Buchanan in 2011 visited a 14-year-old girl in a Buffalo hospital while he was presiding over her juvenile delinquency case, the commission said. The girl had overdosed on prescription drugs in an apparent suicide attempt, and Buchanan brought her gifts and told her "she had a lot to live for," the commission said.

Buchanan did not seek permission from the girl's mother or attorney to visit her, and did not disclose the visit during court proceedings, the panel said. After one of the attorneys in the matter found out about the visit and protested, Buchanan transferred the case to another judge.

Section 100.3 of the state Rules Governing Judicial Conduct bars judges from having private conversations with litigants, which are known as ex parte communications.

Full Article & Source:
New York conduct commission votes to discipline three judges


KJ said...

I wonder what they call it when the judge or the judges staff has ex parte communications with the Law Firm in Chemung County?

Somehow the attorney's involved in the Schindler guardianship petition found out before they even got served.

StandUp said...

The more judges are disciplines, the straighter the line the rest of them will tow.