New York’s Commission of Judicial Conduct recommends judge be removed from the bench.
In a 27-page decision, a New York family court judge was accused by the state’s Commission of Judicial Conduct of engaging in a “pattern of inappropriate behavior toward female court employees.” It was recommended he be removed from the bench. Broome County Judge Richard Miller II is also accused of asking his secretary to “perform services unrelated to her official duties and for failing to disclose personal income from his legal work and rental properties in official court records and on tax returns,” according to the complaint.
According to the Judicial Commission, a court assistant said the judge “harassed her for working too slowly” and “screamed at her in front of others” in the courtroom. When the judge discovered that the court assistant had complained about his “discourteous and demeaning behavior,” he filed a complaint against her.
Miller also made “extremely inappropriate and sexist remarks” to the deputy chief clerk, the Commission said. The deputy chief clerk testified, “After a luncheon, where employees brought dishes to share, the judge told her “he liked her food and that if I knew you could also cook, I would have gone for the widow.” Then, at another point, the deputy chief clerk “said she was hot and needed to use a fan.” The judge, at yet another point, said, “it’s nice to know I still have that effect on you.” He later commented on her appearance in a third incident, telling her “you look really hot in that outfit,” and she “should always wear that outfit.”
“Compounding his misconduct, respondent appears to be under the misapprehension that the women he denigrated and to whom he made the sexist comments had an obligation to tell him that they did not approve of his comments,” according to the Commission. “To the contrary, it was incumbent upon respondent to not make sexist comments to a court employee. Similarly, it was also his responsibility to avoid behaving discourteously toward court employees.”
In the recommendation for him to be removed, it further contended, “Miller also violated the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct when he allowed his court secretary to write a letter regarding unsigned checks for legal work that he had performed before becoming a full-time judge, as well as when he failed to report income from extrajudicial activities on financial reports that he was required to complete as a judge…Respondent, who took the bench in 1996, is an experienced judge who should be fully familiar with the rules.”
Miller was found guilty of violating the rules in more than a dozen cases back in 2002. “Under these circumstances, if respondent were to be censured again and allowed to remain on the bench, we believe public confidence in the courts and the judicial disciplinary process would be undermined,” the Commission wrote.
While the majority of the ten-person panel ruled that Miller should be removed from the bench, two Commission members said he should only be censured, as was done in the past. This would mean the judge would continue to practice until at least his current term ends in 2024.