(CN) – The New York Court of Appeals upheld removal of a justice for a town along the Canadian border who failed to recuse himself from cases involving his live-in girlfriend’s family.
Lafayette Young Jr. began serving as the town court justice in Macomb, N.Y., in 2004.
The State Commission on Judicial Conduct charged him in 2010 with six charges of misconduct and ruled that he should be removed from office.
According to the commission, Young failed to disqualify himself from cases involving his girlfriend, Robyne Petrie-Platt.
He also engaged in ex parte communications with his girlfriend about some cases, and he also failed to disclose the relationship.
Young appealed the commission’s finding, arguing that he was not related to people involved in the cases and thus had a “right to hear those cases.”
The state’s highest court disagreed, affirming Young’s removal as town justice.
“In many of the cases at issue, petitioner’s conduct gave the appearance of favoritism towards the Petrie family defendant or complaining witness,” the unsigned June 26 opinion states. “Moreover, the ex parte communications further exacerbated petitioner’s improper conduct as they highlight his close relationships to the Petrie family and his partiality toward them.”
“Such conduct demonstrates a misuse of his judicial office and damages public confidence in his integrity and impartiality,” the justices added.