29 November 2007

Judge Removed For Abusing Power

Robert M. Restaino, a city court judge in New York State (whose jurisdiction if comparable to that of county court judges in Colorado) was removed from office for abusing his authority.

He ordered 46 defendants in a courtroom, who were on what amounts to probation for domestic violence offenses and were appearing a routine status hearings, jailed because someone in the courtroom (quite possibly a lawyer, staff person or spectator) let a cell phone go off and didn't confess. He reversed his order only many hours later when a reporter inquired.

New York State removes far more judges than most states, because it has a system of elected judges, many of whom are justices of the peace with little education who aren't up to the task they are charged with carrying out. This case was different, as it involved a more powerful, experienced, legally educated judge.


Anonymous said...

You should really know what you are talking about before you post it.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

If something is inaccurate, please let me know, either in a comment, or via an e-mail to ohwilleke [at] hotmail [dot] com

I link to my primary source, which is the disciplinary decision in the case. I'm admitted as an attorney in the 4th District where this took place, have discussed the appointment process for judges tehre, and have followed the New York Times extensive coverage of judicial discipline in New York State, in addition to reading other disciplinary cases involving judges in court of limited jurisdiction of New York.

I'm certainly prone to making clerical errors and don't claim to be omniscent, but certainly have a basis for everything I am saying.

If your objection is to many justices of the peace not having the ability to handle their jobs, I'll stand by my opinion as I think that there is considerable basis for it.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

4th Division not district.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Concurring views (along with inside information that this was no a one time problem) from here.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Primary election results for him.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

More background here. And, despite the fact that an appeal is pending, I'd be very surprised to see the Court of Appeals grant mercy here.