Naturally, most of the complaints dealt with courtroom behavior of judges, as I witnessed that behavior as an attorney or a party in legal proceedings.
All of the complaints, other than those which are pending, were dismissed by the Judicial Conduct Commission with an indication to me that where a judge's misconduct occurred during a court proceeding, my avenue to address it is on appeal.
Yet, when I sued judges for misconduct, my lawsuits were dismissed on the basis of the so-called absolute judicial immunity conferred upon the judges even when they are sued for malicious and corrupt acts on the bench, specifically because discipline is (supposedly) available for their acts on the bench.
Now, you see the circular logic here.
A judge may not be sued for acts in a court proceeding, because you have the alternative to have him disciplined.
A judge cannot be disciplined because you are complaining about his acts in a court proceeding.
And an appellate court will rubber-stamp anything the judge said and reject any allegations of bias.
And the Court of Appeals will refuse to see any constitutional violations.
And it is easier to squeeze through a needle's eye than to get a review in the U.S. Supreme Court.
And your federal claims that the judge is violating your federal constitutional rights will be rejected by a federal court while the state proceeding is pending on a judicially created "Younger abstention", and, after the biased judge ruled against you, and the appellate court rubber-stamped the ruling, your federal claims will be rejected by the federal court under the so-called "Rooker-Feldman doctrine".
So, if you move to recuse a judge in the court below, the judge may punish you (in a civil case) and your attorney with a fine of up to $10,000.00 and with your opponent's attorney's fees which your opponent's attorney will be happy to inflate since such a windfall fell into his or her lap.
But - guess what - there seems to be an interesting exception in New York to this "do not criticize a judge, or else" rule.
(1) If a judge is a not an attorney, and
(2) If a judge, in a criminal case, upset a prosecutor by ruling for the criminal defendant.
Look at what happened to Judge Daniel J. Evans of the Norwich City Court.
Judge Evans dismissed, sua sponte (on the court's own motion), a traffic ticket, which was a clearly judicial act, yet the Commission for Judicial Conduct claimed that Judge Evans undermined
That was clearly an act on the bench, a judicial act.
And the "policy" of the Judicial Conduct Commission would be to tell the prosecution to appeal the dismissal if they are not happy instead of prosecuting a judge. Had Judge Evans been a judge of an upper court, and had Judge Evans been an attorney, no investigation would have been conducted, no testimony would have been taken, the complaint against Judge Evans would have been tossed and Judge Evans would still be on the bench now - as numerous judges (who are attorneys) who were subject of much worse complaints, still remain.
Yet, a proceeding erupted where Judge Evans was hauled as a witness against himself, was grilled as to why he (1) did not engage in an ex parte communication with the prosecution and (2) why he did not conduct his own discovery on the case before he dismissed it.
Note that the judge admits to an ex parte with Mr. Dunshee, and the ex parte communication, in the Commission's view, is necessary to prevent discipline of the judge - because then the Commission found that the judge lied to the Commission, that there was no ex parte communication with Stephen Dunshee and THAT was the reason why the judge was taken off the bench.
Judge Evans also admitted that he actually started seeking evidence from outside of the record when the Commission started its investigation of him - but obviously, Judge Evans did not engage in this "expected" judicial misconduct soon enough for the Commission's liking.
Stephen Dunshee's testimony against Judge Evans, Stephen Dunshee's own former client, was inconsistent and sometimes mumbling:
Look how Stephen Dunshee describes his own employment history:
Here Stephen Dunshee is completely incoherent: "Before that I had a private law practice which I was with the district attorney's office three or four years". What does that mean? Would you like such reasoning faculties in a magistrate judge that Stephen Dunshee has just become?
So, in my experience, the Judicial Conduct Commission, following its own policy, does not even investigate judges if they are accused of misconduct on the bench, claiming that the only remedy is on appeal.
Yet, Judge Evans was taken off the bench because of a judicial act, the sua sponte dismissal and because he did not consult with the ADA before the dismissal!
So now, for a judge of a justice court, not to lose his judgeship, is necessary to actually engage in ex parte communications with prosecutors of traffic tickets.
This stuff is, really, for the Last Week Tonight show...
Yet it is the reality in New York...
And - judges who are attorneys, packs of them, are not hauled into the Judicial Conduct Commission and are not prosecuted for not following procedural law, NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO.
And, had the sua sponte dismissal been of a civil case, the civil plaintiff would have banged his or her head against the door of the Commission in vain, they would have simply tossed his complaint.
It is because a prosecutor was upset, the judge (a non-lawyer judge) was taken off the bench.
Also, Judge Evans was taken off the bench for failure to disclose that he has been represented 3-4 years prior by the Assistant District Attorney Stephen Dunshee in the same Conduct Commission, when Stephen Dunshee appeared in front of him as a prosecutor.
Yet, Judge Carl F. Becker appeared as an Acting Supreme Court Justice in Delaware County in a DEC case where the NYS Attorney General, at that same time representing Judge Becker in a lawsuit against Judge Becker in his individual capacity, was a plaintiff's attorney.
Judge Becker made no disclosures of representation, rejected any claims of impropriety, and the appellate division, after a financial incentive from the Governor in the form of nomination of the presiding judge of the appellate panel Judge Leslie Stein to the Court of Appeals, affirmed that Judge Becker's non-disclosure was ok.
So, we have a real double-standard here.
One judge (who is not an attorney and who pissed a prosecutor, who was "coincidentally" the judge's own prior attorney) has been taken off the bench for exactly the same reasons as to why another judge was not, despite complaints filed by me about non-disclosure of involvement with the New York State Attorney General as the judge's counsel in an individual matter.
Not only Judge Becker was not taken off the bench in 2011, with a prohibition, like in Judge Evans' case, not to take the bench again, but Judge Becker was allowed to run and be re-elected for a new 10-year term, retained his appointment as an Acting Supreme Court justice entitling him to a higher salary and to a higher pension on retirement.
So, when you are told next time about the so-called "rule of law" in the State of New York... Read the proceedings against Judge Daniel Evans on the website of the NYS Commission for Judicial Conduct.