Conduct Commission Questions If Judicial Plates Violate Code-NYLJ

Judges whose license plates identify the office they hold may, in effect, be trading on their positions to avoid the consequences of being stopped for traffic infractions, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct has suggested.

Prompted by a recent disciplinary decision, the commission is seeking input for a public report to address the issue of whether the special vehicle plates violate the code of judicial conduct. It sent letters earlier this month to more than 200 judicial and legal organizations seeking input.

The commission initially disclosed in Matter of Schilling that it planned to conduct the study. In that case, the commission recommended the removal of former town justice Diane Schilling of East Greenbush, Rensselaer County, for arranging to fix one traffic ticket issued to herself and another to the wife of a fellow justice (NYLJ, May 11).

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In his letter seeking input, commission administrator Robert Tembeckjian said the agency’s staff is studying how many judicial plates are issued in New York, who holds them and if the plates carry any special privileges for the bearers. The staff is also researching the policies of other states on issuing plates identifying a vehicle as being owned by a judge.

 

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