|Judicial Conduct Commission announces resignation of Freedom Town Court Justice Gary Chamberlain for ethical violations, including calling Cuomo corrupt in a letter to the editor.|
Text of December 10, 2019 press reles.
The Commission on Judicial Conduct announced today that Gary Chamberlain, a Justice of the Freedom Town Court, Cattaraugus County, has resigned while under investigation for various alleged ethical violations, as noted below. Judge Chamberlain, who left office effective November 6, 2019, agreed never to seek or accept judicial office at any time in the future. The Commission accepted a stipulation to that effect signed by the judge, his attorney and the Commission’s Administrator and closed its investigation.
Judge Chamberlain was apprised by the Commission in March 2019 and October 2019 that it was investigating several complaints alleging that, over a two-year period beginning in October 2017, he:
· failed to enforce a town ordinance regulating storage of “junk” on residential properties;
· failed to properly inform a defendant during an arraignment of his due process rights; and
· sent a letter to the editor of a local paper in October 2018, in which he:
made statements that were political and partisan in nature;
criticized public officials and town residents concerning a matter of local controversy; and
criticized a range of executive decisions and policies of Governor Andrew Cuomo, whom he described as “corrupt,” at a time when the governor was running for re-election.
Judge Chamberlain, who is not an attorney, had served as a Justice of the Freedom Town Court since 2010. His current term would have expired on December 31, 2021.
The Commission has accepted 87 such stipulations since the procedure was instituted in 2003.
STATEMENT BY COMMISSION ADMINISTRATOR ROBERT H. TEMBECKJIAN
“A judge must be and appear fair, impartial and faithful to the law if the public is to have confidence in the courts. Competently applying ordinances and advising litigants of their fundamental rights, as well as avoiding partisan politics, are among the many ways a judge is expected to fulfill that mandate.”
DOCUMENTS IN THE CASE
The Commission’s order closing the matter, the stipulation and a press release are attached and can be found on the Commission’s website, www.cjc.ny.gov.