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Judges aren’t imagined to symbolize shoppers, however that didn’t appear to cease William Edwards, who sits in Westchester County, New York.
In response to a State of New York Fee on Judicial Conduct willpower launched Jan. 10, Edwards on three separate events appeared as an legal professional for his daughter in Albany County Household Courtroom. The appearances occurred between November 2015 and April 2016, with two of the three issues involving petitions for defense orders.
The fee discovered that Edwards’ conduct was near warranting elimination, however as a result of he had admitted that his conduct warranted public self-discipline, and the physique was assured that he’d comply with judicial conduct guidelines going ahead, censure was applicable.
Amy L. Bellantoni, Edwards’ counsel, informed the ABA Journal that her shopper declined to touch upon the matter. In response to a Jan. 10 information launch, he agreed to the censure.
The primary look detailed within the fee willpower occurred in November 2015. Edwards was there on behalf of his daughter, who was a respondent, in accordance with the doc. It doesn’t describe the character of the allegations.
“I’m imploring the courtroom that they dismiss these allegations and dismiss the costs, these particular prices on these dates, with prejudice so she doesn’t have to come back again right here once more and have me come again right here as a result of I’m gonna defend my child. I can’t symbolize folks as you already know as a choose, however I can symbolize members of the family. So I’ll come right here and defend this zealously if I’ve to,” Edwards informed the courtroom.
Truly, part 100.4(G) of New York’s Guidelines of Judicial Conduct states that whereas full-time judges can act professional se, and, with out compensation give authorized recommendation to members of the family, they “shall not follow legislation.”
On the November 2015 listening to, Edwards additionally informed the courtroom that he was “not on the lookout for any favoritism,” and that he was a “very energetic” choose, who had been sitting in Westchester Household Courtroom for 5 years.
“I admire the expertise that you simply undergo as a Household Courtroom choose however that is nonsensical,” Edwards informed the courtroom, in accordance with the willpower. In the end, the courtroom dismissed with prejudice a petition in opposition to his daughter.
The choose was again in Albany County courtroom in March 2016, once more representing his daughter, who sought a safety order. The petition was granted.
“Now I’m her father in addition to an legal professional however I’m truly a choose. I can’t follow legislation besides in my family instances,” Edwards informed the courtroom. He additionally acknowledged that as a dad or mum and as a choose, he discovered one factor—”once you say keep away to a youngster, they usually don’t keep away.”
A 3rd look, in April 2016, concerned cross petitions searching for safety orders. The events couldn’t attain an settlement that day. The following month, Choose Samuel D. Walker, Edwards’ supervising choose, informed him that he couldn’t follow legislation. In June 2016, Edwards’ daughter got here to courtroom with new counsel, and the matter was resolved that day.
“It’s unhealthy sufficient for a full-time choose to follow legislation, even on behalf of a member of the family. Repeatedly mentioning one’s personal judicial standing throughout the proceedings compounds the unique misconduct and comes throughout as an apparent try to affect the trial choose. Right here, Choose Edwards has admitted wrongdoing, and the Fee believes he deserves one other likelihood,” Robert H. Tembeckjian, the fee administrator, stated within the information launch.
Fee member Marvin Ray Raskin, a prison protection lawyer, concurred with the willpower about Edwards’ conduct in query, however dissented on the sanction, and really useful elimination for Edwards.
“Respondent’s conduct was neither inadvertent nor miscalculated. Somewhat, it was purposeful and strategic,” Raskin wrote.
In response to the Rockland/Westchester Journal Information, Edwards was appointed as a choose in 2003, and later elected as a choose. His time period expires in 2023.