Legal Ethics

Pleadings: How Judges Really Behave

Crossed arms, files slammed on desks, and language that a court reporter hesitates to enter into the record.

This isn’t recommended judicial demeanor, obviously, but such behavior is alleged among the claims and counterclaims being made in a finger-pointing fest that involves several New York City jurists—and even led to one judge’s husband reportedly taking out $78,500 worth of New York Times advertising to promote her position. Detailed in a New York Lawyer (reg. req.) reprint of a National Law Journal article, the ongoing dispute is now before the state Commission on Judicial Conduct.

It recently became even more prominent when Judge Marian R. Shelton of Bronx Family Court waived her right to confidentiality, making pleadings in the case public.

The commission accuses the 52-year-old judge of rude and intemperate behavior, among other allegations. She contends that she was targeted for retaliation by Dennis Quirk, president of the 1,500-member New York State Court Officers Association, who is described in the article as “combative,” after she complained about security issues.

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