June 29, 2013

Appellate Court Judge is admonished over letter to Parole Board

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has determined that Nancy E. Smith, a Justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, should be admonished for sending an unsolicited letter on behalf of an inmate who was applying for parole.

The Commission said Smith sent an unsolicited letter on her judicial stationery to a parole board indicating that the inmate was a 'friend' and 'good person' who deserved release. In fact, while Smith had corresponded with the inmate, she never met him and her only connection to the matter was that her brother-in-law's sister is a friend of the defendant's mother.

Commission Administrator Robert H. Tembeckjian made the following statement: "This marks the first time the Commission has publicly disciplined an Appellate Division Justice, whose high rank should have made her especially sensitive to setting an example and obeying the ethics rules."

For further details:
Admonition of Appellate Division Justice Nancy E. Smith, Fourth Department (Rochester) June 28 2013
Appellate Justice Is Faulted Over Letter to Parole Board, by John Caher (New York Law Journal, July 1 2013)
In a first, Appellate Division justice is admonished, by Rick Karlin (Times Union Capitol, June 28 2013)