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October 17, 2017

Removing a judge from his or her office


Removing a judge from his or her office
Matter of Ayres, 2017 NY Slip Op 07207, Court of Appeals

J. Marshall Ayres [Petitioner], a non-lawyer Justice of the Conklin Town Court, sought the Court of Appeals' review of a determination of the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct sustaining certain charges of misconduct and removing Petitioner from office.  The Court of Appeals, after a plenary review of the record, sustained the Commission's findings and concluded that Petitioner's removal was warranted.

The decision sets out the details of the events that resulted in the Commission's removing Petitioner from his office and describes a number of applicable judicial standards of ethics that a judge must be guided by so as to act "in such a manner as to inspire public confidence in the integrity, fair-mindedness and impartiality of the judiciary." The Court of Appeals said the Petitioner "persisted in ... serious misconduct even after County Court informed" him as to his "proper role" as a judge. The court said that Petitioner's "misconduct is compounded by his failure to recognize these breaches of our ethical standards and the public trust" and that "[j]udges are held to 'standards of conduct more stringent than those acceptable for others.'"

In the words of the court, Petitioner "misses the essential point: that, as a judge, his conduct had to both be and appear to be impartial." This is a particularly high standard  and the misconduct with "which [Petitioner] is charged and which he does not deny — fails to meet it."

The decision is posted on the Internet at:


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