Legal Ethics

Judge Slapped for Sending Threatening Letter

New York’s Commission on Judicial Conduct has admonished a judge for sending a threatening letter to a tenant in an attempt to enforce a landlord/tenant oral settlement that went beyond the judge’s authority.

Seneca County’s Junius town justice, Stephen H. Brown, reportedly sent a letter last December to the tenant that said, “I know where you live.” The letter further threatened actions including warrants, wage garnishment and jail, the North Country Gazette reports.

The judge lacked the authority to enforce nonpayment, the commission noted in a Dec. 12 determination. Brown had only been a judge for about a year at the time the letter was sent. Brown served as a volunteer firefighter with the landlord involved in the matter.

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