Janet DiFiore Under Ethical Investigation At Time Of Resignation Announcement: Report

    New York Chief Justice Janet DiFiore had faced an ethics investigation from the state when she announced Monday that she would be leaving her post at the end of August, according to a report.

    The investigation, conducted by the state’s Judicial Conduct Commission, is investigating whether DiFiore improperly interfered with the disciplinary hearing of the president of the state’s Association of Bailiffs, Law 360 reported, citing documents and a person familiar with the case.

    Dennis Quirk, DiFiore’s union leader and critic, was punished for threatening to post copies of an old newspaper report about an alleged affair DiFiore was having on courthouses across the state.

    Last August, DiFiore wrote a letter to prosecutor in Quirk’s case, Phyllis Orlikoff Flug, requesting Quirk’s punishment, arguing that he “shows no remorse,” Law 360 reported.

    “This patent reality requires that you use all resources at your disposal to address this incident and discourage future respondent misconduct,” she wrote.

    Flug told Law 360 that she forwarded the letter to the Commission on Judicial Conduct shortly after receipt and that the commission’s lead attorney told her it would be investigated.

    Legal ethics do not allow judges to use their titles to influence proceedings for personal gain, according to Law 360.

    On Monday, DiFiore announced she would be stepping down, praising her record in more than six years in the position. She was appointed in 2016 by former Governor Andrew Cuomo.

    A person familiar with the investigation confirmed that DiFiore was under state investigation when she made her announcement, although state court spokesman Lucian Chalfen told Law 360 her resignation was unrelated to the investigation.

    Quirk, when asked for comment by Law 360 about the DiFiore investigation, said “she should know better as a judge.”

    Quirk faced a disciplinary hearing after a story in The Post reported that DiFiore ordered an “independent review of the New York state court system’s response to issues of institutional racism” after a complaint was filed about Quirk’s alleged behavior toward black people. court officers, according to law 360.

    New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Janet DiFiore
    DiFiore wrote a letter to the prosecutor requesting punishment from Dennis Quirk, president of the NY State Court.
    AP/Mike Groll
    Dennis Quirk, President of the New York State Court Officers Association
    Quirk was punished for threatening to post copies of a newspaper article about an alleged affair DiFiore was having.
    Staff Shot

    He then emailed DiFiore and said he would respond to the “false rumours,” according to documents in a related state court dispute over DiFiore that may testify in the disciplinary hearing, the legal outlet reported.

    “Let’s [sic] to see [how] you like the online articles about your relationship with a police officer associated with organized crime while you were married, which were posted all over every courthouse in NYS,” he reportedly said, according to court documents.

    The email was subsequently referred for possible disciplinary action.

    Governor Kathy Hochul will have to appoint a new chief justice, sparking speculation that the Court of Appeals could shift politically to the left.

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