Los Angeles - March 13,
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NY JAILer, Ron Loeber,
Justice Teresi Censured Over
Albany-- Diallo criminal trial judge accepts
finding by judicial panel for
his conduct in unrelated cases
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.
commission concluded that Teresi "failed to respect and comply with the law''
and violated ethical rules requiring a judge to be "patient, dignified
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.''
sentenced me to six months in jail ... because I would not sign a
terminated my water rights and my easement rights,'' he said. "On
he said he was going to bring me back on the last day (of the
and do it all over again. The only reason he didn't was I was
jail for illegal imprisonment by the Appellate Division.''
violated his oath of office with me, and he has damned near
Loeber, 59, has a lawsuit pending in federal court for
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
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
A word from another NY JAILer, Bill Gage, is as
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
- 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
J.A.I.L. is an acronym for (Judicial Accountability Initiative
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striking at the
-- Henry David Thoreau