Legal Ethics

Tinkering With DWI Evidence Costs NY Judge and Law Prof Their Jobs

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Asked by a friend who is a lawyer to write a statement saying that she wasn’t drunk when she left a bar, New York Supreme Court Justice Joseph Makowski reportedly did so.

Now the 55-year-old jurist is recanting the statement and resigning from his $136,700-a-year job. And the lawyer he helped attempt to avoid a conviction for driving while intoxicated, former Erie County prosecutor Anne Adams, 46, pleaded guilty Friday in Erie County Court in New York not only to the DWI but two additional misdemeanor charges of offering a false instrument for filing and attempted tampering with physical evidence, according to the Buffalo News and WKBW.

Adams also has lost her approximately $70,000-a-year job at the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law as a result of the DWI case, the newspaper writes. She oversaw a trial technique program there.

Formerly spoken of herself as a possible candidate for the bench, Adams might now lose her law license, according to Erie District Attorney Frank Sedita. Adams tried to cover up her crime with a falsified blood test purporting to show she was sober, he states.

“Neither party to this pathetic episode committed violent crimes, nor have criminal records,” Sedita says. “By the same token, one of my most important duties as district attorney is to restore public confidence in the justice system. Accordingly, this type of misconduct, particularly on behalf of lawyers, judges and public officials, will not be tolerated and will not be overlooked by this office.”

Adams is scheduled to be sentenced in April, and Makowski will leave the bench by March 5, writes WKBW.

Additional coverage:

Buffalo News: “Makowski resigns as State Supreme Court justice”

Buffalo News (2008): “Former prosecutor Anne Adams pleads not guilty in DWI case”

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