334* NY JAILer Hits The News!
- Mar 13, 2001
J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles - March 13, 2001
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By CAROL DeMARE, Staff writer
Times Union February 16, 2001Justice Teresi Censured Over BehaviorAlbany-- Diallo criminal trial judge accepts finding by judicial panel for
his conduct in unrelated cases
State Supreme Court Justice Joseph C. Teresi, who gained national attention by presiding over the Amadou Diallo trial, has been censured by a judicial watchdog group in unrelated cases for being discourteous and putting people in jail for contempt without hearings.
In two of the four charges against him, the Commission on Judicial Conduct found that Teresi held people in civil contempt of court in 1997 and sent them to jail without holding hearings, including one man who was imprisoned for 45 days. In two other matters, the commission cited the judge for lack of judicial temperament.
The 11-member panel said the judge was "injudicious, impatient and
discourteous'' in discussions with attorneys in which he tried to force a
settlement of the case.
The commission concluded that Teresi "failed to respect and comply with the law'' and violated ethical rules requiring a judge to be "patient, dignified
and courteous'' toward litigants and their lawyers.
A censure is a public criticism and does not carry a fine or suspension. It
is a step above an admonition, the lowest form of reprimand. The severest
penalty imposed by the commission is recommendation that a judge be removed from the bench. Supreme Court judges are paid $136,000 annually. ...."I have admitted an agreed statement of facts,'' Teresi said shortly after
the ruling was made public. "I take full responsibility for all my actions
and regret that they occurred. I apologize to my colleagues in the judiciary
for any negative impact this might have. ....Teresi is the first judge to be censured in Albany County in 20 years, said
Gerald Stern, commission administrator. ....One of those who filed a complaint against Teresi was Ronald G. Loeber, a businessman from Knox. Loeber spent 45 days in jail -- from Dec. 31, 1997, to Feb. 13, 1998 -- for civil contempt in connection with a Guilderland property dispute.
Loeber, who filed the complaint in December 1998, was disappointed to learn that Teresi only received a censure. "That's all he got,'' Loeber said. "It's a slap on the wrist.''
"This man sentenced me to six months in jail ... because I would not sign a
deed that terminated my water rights and my easement rights,'' he said. "On
the record he said he was going to bring me back on the last day (of the
six months) and do it all over again. The only reason he didn't was I was
released from jail for illegal imprisonment by the Appellate Division.''
"This man violated his oath of office with me, and he has damned near
destroyed me,'' Loeber said.
Loeber, 59, has a lawsuit pending in federal court for damages stemming
from his jailing. Two hours before he was released from jail Teresi named the sheriff the receiver of property and directed him to sign a deed taking
away Loeber's easement and water rights. He has spent more than $50,000 in attorneys' fees and claims he would have received a six-figure settlement
in the easement dispute had it not been taken from him. ....
Teresi received numerous recognitions for his courtroom control and
demeanor stemming from the high-profile trial last February of four New York City police officers charged with murdering Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant. The trial was transferred from the Bronx. The officers were acquitted.A word from another NY JAILer, Bill Gage, is as follows:Ron, This is the same judge who resided over the Diallo murder trial in Albany, NY. At the time he sat on that trial his oath of office was not registered with the NY Secretary of State's office. This made all of his actions from the time his old oath ran out null and void. We tried to get the Secretary of NY State to act and they ignored us. ....Bill Gage - NY JAILer
The above account lends credibility to JAIL's commonly stated fact that judicial commissions across this country never prosecute violations of law or acts of misconduct. Their purpose is to protect the judicial system from gross public embarrassment. Thus, these commissions only "prosecute" embarrassment for the benefit of public consumption so that people will believe there is a watchdog check over the judicial system! They have no other purpose. Can anyone prove to the contrary? - Ron Branson
J.A.I.L. is an acronym for (Judicial Accountability Initiative Law)
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