Panel: Judge Who Quit Must Be Removed; Cites Due-Process Issues, Sexual Talk About Turtle T-Shirt
A family court judge in New York abruptly quit last month after facing criticism for the way he treated multiple defendants on his call.
But Gilbert Abramson should still be removed from the bench, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct has determined (PDF), because of his disregard for their due-process rights. The commission also had harsh words for the former Saratoga County jurist’s extended, sexually charged commentary about a female defendant’s turtle T-shirt, during two separate hearings.
Referring to the animal depiction as a “turtle on Viagra” at one point, Abramson said, “It’s erect; it’s smiling,” among other ribald remarks during not only but two hearings. See the opinion (PDF) for a complete transcript of the judge’s extended commentary on the turtle T-shirt.
Removing a jurist from the bench makes it impossible for him to serve again as a judge, under state law, the New York Law Journal reports in an article reprinted in New York Lawyer.
Attorney Robert Roche represents Abramson and says that while Abramson has no desire to serve on the bench again, he will nonetheless contest the commission’s recommendation at the state court of appeals. Abramson’s mistakes were largely technical, according to Roche, and he says Abramson did what he thought was the right thing to do.