Appellate justice is disciplined

For the first time in its 35-year history, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct has publicly disciplined an Appellate Division justice.

Nancy E. Smith, a justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, in Rochester reportedly used her position to try to get an early release of a man in prison for vehicular manslaughter.

Smith was admonished for sending an unsolicited letter of support on behalf of an inmate she had never met who was applying for parole, said Commission Administrator Robert H. Tembeckjian.

Admonishment is the mildest form of judicial discipline.

Smith has 30 days to accept or appeal the decision.

In its ruling released Friday, the commission said Smith’s actions were “inconsistent with well-established ethical standards prohibiting a judge from lending the prestige of judicial office to advance private interests,” Tembeckjian said. “This marks the first time the Commission has publicly disciplined an Appellate Division Justice, whose high rank should have made her especially sensitive to setting an example and obeying the ethics rules.”

The matter involved the case of Craig Cordes who was sentenced in May 2008 to up to 10 years in state prison after he was convicted of first-degree vehicular manslaughter. Cordes, who had just completed his second year in law school, was intoxicated when he smashed his boat into another on July 8, 2007, on Skaneateles Lake, killing two people.

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Appellate justice is disciplined


2 Responses to “Appellate justice is disciplined”

  1. Thelma Says:

    She should have known better.

  2. Karen Says:

    If we only knew how much of this goes on, I bet we'd faint!

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