Legal Ethics

Judge Censured for ‘Nice Butt’ Remarks

A New York town court judge who made light of a defendant’s assertion that his lawyer was “cute” and had “a nice butt” has been censured for the “misguided attempt at humor.”

Justice Edmund V. Caplicki Jr. of LaGrange Town Court in Dutchess County informed the lawyer of the remarks in a sidebar conference and then talked about them in open court before the defendant and three others represented by the public defender, said the opinion by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

“Such conduct is inexcusable and clearly lacks the courtesy and respect a judge is required to accord to attorneys,” the commission said. “Respondent’s persistence in his attempted humor at the attorney’s expense is simply inexplicable and demonstrates a gross insensitivity to the injurious effects of such behavior. It was demeaning to the attorney and diminishes the dignity of the court.”

The judge, who is known for his sense of humor, apologized for the remarks, the New York Law Journal reports in a story republished by the New York Lawyer. Other female lawyers testified Caplicki is usually respectful, the commission said, and the incident seems to be an aberration.

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