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Legal Ethics

Judge quits amid claims he used court attorney for personal work, seated his own daughter on jury

Posted Apr 9, 2013 3:20 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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After 30 years on the bench, an upstate New York municipal judge has resigned to resolve misconduct charges.

They included claims that Elmira City Court Judge Thomas Ramich had his court attorney run errands and handle personal legal work for Ramich and his relatives, reports Reuters.

Ramich also allegedly not only seated his own daughter on a jury in a case he was presiding over but discussed it with her outside of court, says the state Commission on Judicial Conduct.

The commission also said in its complaint that Ramich told a demeaning joke about another judge at a public event, suggesting that not only the other judge's caseload but his genitalia involved "small" matters.

Attorney Thomas Reilly represented Ramich. Reilly told the news agency that claims against Ramich were either incorrect or overblown. While the court attorney, for example, did run errands for the judge, the court attorney "could've said no," Reilly pointed out. He said the judge did not discuss with his daughter prior to verdict the case in which his daughter served as a juror.

Reilly also said his client's joke about the other judge, while tasteless, was not of sufficient import to constitute misconduct.

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