Glen George's status unclear
By Joe Moskowitz
The Town of Middletown is paying two judges, but right now only one of them is working and that situation may not change until the end of the year.
On May 1, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct ruled that Town Justice Glen George is unfit to serve as a judge and the panel recommended that George be removed from the bench. However, he has a 30-day window during which he can decide whether to accept the decision or file an appeal. Neither the town nor the commission knows what he plans to do. If he takes his case to the State Court of Appeals the decision to oust him could be over ruled. George’s punishment could be reduced to a censure, which would amount to him being told what he did was wrong, but he could stay on the bench. Or the Appeals Court could uphold the commission’s ruling and George would have to step down.
A long process
Marissa Harrison, a spokesperson for the Commission on Judicial Conduct told the Catskill Mountain News that should he appeal, it would take nine months to a year before the Court of Appeals would make a decision. Prior to the commission’s decision, George had said he would not seek reelection in November, and would retire on December 31. That means if he appeals he could complete his term without being forced to step down.
Middletown Town Attorney John Fairbairn III says the Town of Middletown has not received any official notification, but it is understood that George will not hear any cases until his situation is resolved. However, since he has not stepped down, and if he does appeal, he will legally be allowed to hear cases, and the town will have to continue pay him. Judge George is paid about $300 per week.
Meanwhile Judge Gary Rosa will continue to hear all of the cases. The Town of Middletown cannot hold a special election, nor can it appoint a new judge because even if Glen George isn’t on the bench, in the eyes of the law, he is still a judge and the town can’t fill a vacancy when legally there is no vacancy.
When asked if the commission is considering any other cases involving Judge George, Harrison said,” I can neither confirm, deny, nor comment.”