Gavel Grab

Suspension Urged in Judicial Ethics Case

 A lawyer who recently was elected to Manhattan Surrogate’s Court should not be allowed to take office until allegations of campaign finance violations are resolved, a New York state ethics commission has recommended.

The commission has taken no position on Anderson’s guilt or innocence.

According to a posting by the Institute for Judicial Studies in New York:

According to a New York Times article, Nora S. Anderson was indicted Dec. 10 for allegedly “accepting $250,000 in campaign contributions from her boss and concealing where the money came from. Under state law, individual donors are not allowed to give any campaign more than $33,122.50.”

In a letter to New York’s highest court, which will decide whether Anderson should be suspended, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct wrote that “public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary, the courts and the administration of justice would be undermined” if Anderson presides over cases while facing criminal charges.

The commission has taken no position on Anderson’s guilt or innocence.

According to a September blog posting by the Institute for Judicial Studies in New York, the three candidates reported raising a total of $1.4 million:

Attorney Nora Anderson won Tuesday’s fiercely fought Manhattan Surrogate primary — besting her two opponents in a race that saw more than one million dollars raised for a job that pays less than $140,000 a year.*

The race was one of four big Democratic judicial primaries in the City, which are tantamount to election, given the party’s local dominance.

The Surrogate race was occasioned by the retirement of Renee R. Roth, who had served since 1983. Surrogates choose legal guardians and fiduciaries to handle a variety of responsibilities involving wills, estates, and adoptions: calculating asset values, selling properties, and settling accounts.

The lucrative assignments have given the court a long-standing reputation for cronyism. And that made claims of reformism front and center in the race.

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