Court Security

Report: Lawyer uses wife's car, with her judicial license plate, to park in courthouse lot

A member of the public who parks in a special area of a Queens Supreme Court parking lot reserved for police officers transporting prisoners can be fined over $100 and have his or her car towed.

However, police hesitate to ticket a vehicle with a judicial license plate. And, as attorney Bernard Udell acknowledges, that is what the car he drives to the courthouse displays, because it belongs to his wife, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Bernadette Bayne, the New York Post reports.

Questioned by the newspaper last week after he parked in the restricted area, Udell said he often parked his wife’s car there, for an hour or two, when he had business at the court, but insisted he ordinarily checked with a court officer for permission. He didn’t do so on that particular day, however, because no officer was around, Udell told the newspaper.

“Look, I come here once a month,’’ he said. “I usually would ask a court officer if it’s OK to park here. I got here around 11 a.m. No one was here, so I parked here. If I did anything wrong, I’m sorry. I didn’t think I did anything wrong. I don’t do this every day. I’m hardly ever here in Queens, and the few times I’m here, I usually get permission.”

Patrick Cullen, who serves as president of the Supreme Court officers’ union, told the Post that use by others of the parking spaces in the area reserved for officers transporting prisoners creates a safety issue for all concerned.

Related coverage: “Does ‘milquetoast’ ethics report ignore ‘schizophrenic message’ sent by judicial license plates?”

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