[originally posted Oct. 17, 2004]
Troy City Judge Henry Bauer was evicted from his judicial office last wwek, in a 4-3 decision by
New York’s Court of Appeals. [Matter of Bauer, No. 125, Oct. 14, 2004] John Caher wrote an excellent article in NYLJ explaining this many-faceted case, which focused on the setting of excessive bail, and failure to inform defendants of their right to counsel, in order to force then to enter plea bargains [e.g., holding the accused in jail in lieu of $25,00 bail for a crime that would produce a $100 fine and no jail time]. I’ve been following the story for the past few years, since Troy is part of my metropolitan area and the hearings were public.
Judge Bauer attacked the discipline process as a conspiracy, egged on by the ACLU, against conservative-
minded judges. It is interesting that the 3 high-court judges who did not agree that Bauer should be knocked off the bench permanently, were the newest judges on the Court, and therefore appointed by Republican Gov. George Patacki. Nonetheless, I want to point out that ex-Judge Bauer — unlike a more famous Republican — had this to say when asked by a Troy Record reporter if he regreted any of his actions:
“I guess I am no different than anyone else in any job they have,” Bauer said. “You always
want to do a better job and sometimes if you had a chance to do certain things over again,
you might do them differently.”
Bauer was not regretful during the disciplinary process, where humility might have saved his job. The justices who dissented over the permanent ban noted that there were “only” 39 infractions charged. However, one dissenter, Robert S. Smith, took issue with Bauer’s “outraged defiance” and his
“ill-judged … attempt to show that his disciplinary problems stemmed from an unholy alliance among the Commission’s staff, the Commission’s referee and the American Civil Liberties Union.”
Carl Strock, a columnist for the Schenectady Gazette (Oct. 17, 2004, p. B1, subscript. $$) raised a good point:
“Judge Bauer clearly went beyond the norm but what he did does not seem to me qualitatively different than what is done as standard procedure — leaning on defendants to plead guilty to lesser crimes that they are charged with so as to avoid the time and expense of trial. He just went too far.”
October 19, 2004
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