Decide censured after representing daughter in household legislation courtroom
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Decide censured after representing daughter…
By Stephanie Francis Ward
January 13, 2020, 1:56 pm CST
Picture from Shutterstock.com.
Judges aren’t purported to characterize shoppers, however that didn’t appear to cease William Edwards, who sits in Westchester County, New York.
In accordance with a State of New York Fee on Judicial Conduct dedication launched Jan. 10, Edwards on three separate events appeared as an legal professional for his daughter in Albany County Household Court docket. The appearances passed off between November 2015 and April 2016, with two of the three issues involving petitions for cover orders.
The fee discovered that Edwards’ conduct was near warranting removing, however as a result of he had admitted that his habits warranted public self-discipline, and the physique was assured that he’d observe judicial conduct guidelines going ahead, censure was applicable.
Amy L. Bellantoni, Edwards’ counsel, advised the ABA Journal that her shopper declined to touch upon the matter. In accordance with a Jan. 10 information launch, he agreed to the censure.
The primary look detailed within the fee dedication passed off 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 return 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 characterize folks as you already know as a decide, however I can characterize relations. So I’ll come right here and defend this zealously if I’ve to,” Edwards advised the courtroom.
Really, part 100.four(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 relations, they “shall not follow legislation.”
On the November 2015 listening to, Edwards additionally advised the courtroom that he was “not on the lookout for any favoritism,” and that he was a “very energetic” decide, who had been sitting in Westchester Household Court docket for 5 years.
“I respect the expertise that you just undergo as a Household Court docket decide however that is nonsensical,” Edwards advised the courtroom, in accordance with the dedication. Finally, the courtroom dismissed with prejudice a petition towards his daughter.
The decide 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 really a decide. I can’t follow legislation besides in my family instances,” Edwards advised the courtroom. He additionally acknowledged that as a guardian and as a decide, he discovered one factor—”whenever you say keep away to an adolescent, they typically don’t keep away.”
A 3rd look, in April 2016, concerned cross petitions in search of safety orders. The events couldn’t attain an settlement that day. The following month, Decide Samuel D. Walker, Edwards’ supervising decide, advised 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 dangerous sufficient for a full-time decide 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 and affect the trial decide. Right here, Decide Edwards has admitted wrongdoing, and the Fee believes he deserves one other probability,” Robert H. Tembeckjian, the fee administrator, stated within the information launch.
Fee member Marvin Ray Raskin, a felony protection lawyer, concurred with the dedication about Edwards’ habits in query, however dissented on the sanction, and beneficial removing for Edwards.
“Respondent’s conduct was neither inadvertent nor miscalculated. Fairly, it was purposeful and strategic,” Raskin wrote.
In accordance with the Rockland/Westchester Journal Information, Edwards was appointed as a decide in 2003, and later elected as a decide. His time period expires in 2023.