censured judge wanted to fight pro se litigant

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Even your stodgy shlep Editor can’t resist telling you about this tasty bit of judicial misconduct, which involved a pro se defendant:
“An Albany city judge who descended from the bench, dropped his robes on the floor and seemingly challenged a defendant to a fist fight in court barely escaped removal in a divided opinion yesterday by the Commission on Judicial Conduct.” . . .  

“Majority and dissenting opinions make clear that Albany City Judge William A. Carter came within a thread of losing his job, and make equally clear that he will not get a second chance. Although the commission staff and two commissioners called for removal, the majority voted for censure, while describing Judge Carter’s conduct as “deplorable” and “utterly inexcusable.”   

” . . . One witness said the judge approached the defendant and demanded, “You want a piece of me?”    

“. . . One police officer quickly removed the defendant from the courtroom while another physically blocked the judge by standing in his way and preventing him from pursuing the accused.”

   

boxer  (New York Law Journal, by John Caher, ” Utterly Inexcusable’ Acts Prompt Censure of Judge,” Oct. 3, 2006)  Commission records show that Judge Carter was presiding over an arraignment in November 2004 in which a pro se defendant challenged the legality of the accusatory instrument.   After the defendant became agitated and said he did not want to continue with the proceeding, Judge Carter left the bench and confronted the defendant.   According to the article, local practitioners suggest that the incident, and one other charged by the Commission, “were oddly inconsistent with his performance and behavior since he became a judge in January 2002 and during earlier stints as a prosecutor and defense lawyer.”

Bringing out the worst in jurists — just one more risk for those appearing sans Esquire.  

1 Comment

  1. shlep: the Self-Help Law ExPress » Blog Archive » “piece of me” judge sued for $2 million

    December 14, 2006 @ 11:28 am

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    […]  We reported two months ago that Albany [NY] City Court Judge William A. Carter was censured by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, for an incident in which he left the bench, dropped his robes on the floor, and — while rushing toward a criminal defendant who was seeking to drop his public defender and appear pro se — inquired “do you want a piece of me?“.  Ten weeks later, the defendant Talib Alsaifullah, 46, is appearing pro se as plaintiff in a civil rights suit filed in U.S. District Court in Albany.  He’s “suing Carter for $2 million, claiming pain, suffering and a lasting fear of the judiciary“ (emphasis added).  He [Alsaifullah, not Carter] is serving a sentence for assault at Albany County Correctional Facility. (Albany Times Union, “Judge’s outburst brings lawsuit,” Dec. 13, 2006; and see North Country Gazette, “Albany Judge sued for confronting defendant,” Dec. 13, 2006) […]

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