Two upstate town court justices, one of them a lawyer, have resigned amid unrelated state probes of their misconduct, the Commission on Judicial Conduct announced Dec. 14. The two ex-judges also agreed to never hold judicial office in New York again.
Attorney Heather Knott, a justice since 1994 in the Hague Town Court, Warren County, faced four charges of improper conduct, including the allegation that she appeared while under the influence of alcohol on several occasions from 2009 to 2011 as an attorney for the child in Essex County Family Court. The commission also charged that during roughly the same time Knott presided over Hague Town Court while under the influence of alcohol. The panel accused Knott of backing her car into a vehicle in Ticonderoga, leaving the scene and not reporting the incident. The commission said it censured, but did not remove, Knott in 1999 for alcohol-related improprieties when she assured the panel that she would abstain from alcohol in the future.
In a separate matter, the commission said Gary Anderson, a Town of Bainbridge justice in Chenango County since 2008, agreed to resign amid a probe of six charges of alleged misconduct, including failure to advise a defendant of his right to counsel, finding a defendant guilty without a trial or the opportunity to cross-examine a witness, and allowing unsworn statements and evidence not properly admitted. Anderson, who is not a lawyer, also failed to mechanically record all proceedings before him as is required under §20.1 of the Rules of the Chief Judge.