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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New York Judge Quits

Another LI judge quits amid salary discontent
Newsday bY LUIS PEREZ - luis.perez@newsday.com

Judge Ralph Gazzillo had had enough. After serving eight years as supervising judge in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead, the former police sergeant from Brooklyn resigned from the managerial post last week. It was a tough decision, Gazzillo said, reached in part because of his sense of hopelessness with the judicial salary dispute in Albany. "When the air conditioner breaks down, when the elevator breaks down, they call me," Gazzillo, 64, said in his office, where a sign saying "Whining" with a slash through it hangs off his desk. "Just so you are aware of the fact, I don't get nothing extra. I make as much as any other judge here. I just get more headaches." And then there's morale, summed up by Gazzillo this way: "January, below zero."

Gazzillo is not alone. Across Long Island, state judges, elected officials who make $137,000 a year, have grumbled, sometimes loudly, for years. Along with humiliation, they cite the cost of living, increased workloads and, in Suffolk, reduced ranks. "They are definitely hurting, they are definitely sad by the way they have been treated," said Judge H. Patrick Leis III, Suffolk's administrative judge, who called Gazzillo a hard worker. "They feel disrespected and not valued, and they feel -- a bad word for judges -- powerless."

Said Nassau Supreme Court Justice Leonard Austin: "For New York judges, public service is a very high calling, and we are proud to do it. But if New York wants to continue to recruit the best and brightest ... it's got to pay at least a competitive salary." The gripes are almost two decades old. But in recent years, after mirages of a raise, some say frustration has manifested as a work slowdown. In Suffolk, court insiders call it the "black flu." "The robes are black, know what I mean?" said one high-ranking court staffer who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to comment.

Leis and others deny there is a slowdown. There are 12 fewer Suffolk County Court judges than in 2002, Leis said, and the same judges carry 150 cases, as opposed to 50 cases five years ago. Leis said judges are under tremendous pressure from Albany to dispose of cases within six months. Court administration statistics show Suffolk is behind four New York City boroughs, and just ahead of Nassau, in felony and misdemeanor cases brought to a close. Still, judges have discretion in how they schedule their days, and it is not unusual to see the parking lot mostly bare at 3 p.m.

"There is leeway, but I can't just put off arraignments for two weeks," said state Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle, 72, a veteran widely respected for his work ethic, but who also often takes Fridays off. "You can't have a slowdown. It's not right."  Staff writer Ann Givens contributed to this story.

14 comments:

ny taxpayer said...

let 90% of them quit, they will save the taxpayers a lot of tax money. There are a make work group of lawyers who can't make an honest living looking for a free ride.

Anonymous said...

I hope the feds have him on the list of judges to have a little chat with.

nameless said...

A friend of mine (who is a fed empl) told me that a half dozen NY judges (county & state) have been talking to federal agents. A few others have called in and made appointments, but haven't been interviewed yet. The joke for insiders is that every judge INSISTS that his own lawyer be able to sit in during the info download. Sounds like some decent judges, who recently remembered they really did take an oath of office to uphold the law, are doing the right thing. Of course this will also save their asses once the depth of the corruption breaks open. Oh, I'm told one female judge has been secretly recording her fellow dress wearing adjudicators of justice. Momma, this is one big scandal waiting to pop, and it'll make Eliot look like a friggin' alter boy.

Anonymous said...

Working in a very busy court..this is how it goes.
The judge does arraignments in the AM and PM, when he or she is in intake..may be alot of cases, but a simple process. Some dispositions and hearings in the AM and some in the PM. For the four weeks of intake and the first 3-4 weeks out, a little busy but NO heavy lifting, accept for the court clerk and reporter!
After that...judges are off and on a lot and some.. weeks at a time..until the next intake. The cycle is repeated every year for years and the more they do this, the better they get at quickly disposing of the typical cases that each court always gets..no intense judging and if needed..it is the law clerk who does it..oh yeah! So the whining being done is the.... JUDICIARY!
Don't let them fool you..some judges take their job seriously and work hard and do their own legal research..but many...no way..i saw it for years!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to read that one judge believes the corruption in the courts is out of control. And I don't think that it's not just the judges (most are honest), the mobsters get their people in as clerks, stenographers and law clerks. Cheaper too!

Anonymous said...

the judges go home after 11:30Am
They dismmis cases to clear the calander. The more cases they trow out it make thhier number look better. They rule in favor of the guy with more money.
Appeals are expensive.
The poor guy can not afford the appeal. The guy with the deep pockets can afford the appeal.
One judge i found i can tell who one the case without reading the decision on the lexis nexus.
This judge refuses to hear oral arguments allows peolpe to file papers the day you go to court.
Therefore not allowing the other party to oppose the papers.
So much for justice.
judges are allowed to other jobs.
so that is how a judge can go to work at 9:30 and be at his/her other job at 11Am. The clerk and the head judge should know that the
clerk can not due roll call and hear 40 cases in an hour and a half.
That is why thier are no cameras in th court.

Anonymous said...

There is a judge in the Orange County Supreme Court in Goshen New that is going to have to make a quick decision. An affidavit came in exposing the criminal activities of one attorney by the name of Gary Greenwald from Chester New York. Which involves falsifying court orders including a custody order to kidnapped children from another state, collusion, perjury, illegaly withdrawing money from an escrow account and lying about among other juicy details. This case also involves the sexual exploitation of a minor, child pornography, child prostitution and the minor also involved in drugs and alcohol. It appears the authorities in the county are trying to cover up the dirty deeds of some Officers of the Court and how bad the Judge screwed up. ouch!!! The papers where recieved on April 4, 2008 in the Clerk's Office. We are getting tired of seen people been screwed and kids been destroy for $$$$$

fed up said...

take their pensions away, hurt them the way they hurt everyone, make them feel the pain....

Anonymous said...

Hey the case in Orange County Supreme Court has the involvenment of someone special Judge Francis A. Nicolai.

Anonymous said...

Judge Stacy Bennett of the Family Court should be removed from the Bench. I am under the information and belief she ran under the ticket claiming how the new regieme is in the family court. This woman is a disgrace to the legal system. She makes decisions one sided as opposed to the totality of the circumstances then publishes them in the Law Journal to make herself look good by stepping on someone else. See April 29, 2008 New York State Law Journal and you will see for yourselves

Anonymous said...

I agree with you in regards to your position with Judge Stacy Bennett of the Nassau County family court. I read the article myself and I felt it was complete bias towards the Father. It sounded to me she had it out for the Father when she wrote in the journal not once but twice that how the Father said the child was an ingrate. Sounds to me Judge Bennett has her own issues with men. Perhaps we should elect a Gorilla to take her place because one would surmise that a Gorilla is not prejudicial or bias towards the male. The men do not have any kind of chance in that Family Court of Westbury. Outside the building it should say Woman's Court

Anonymous said...

Its 2011...Stacey Bennett should still be removed...there is no doubt this judge does not listen or read the allegations or rather question the allegations...she takes the easy way out....month to month the same cases go back in front of her - this is justice? this is our system? This judge is a lazy woman who needs to rethink her position as a human being who is qualified to really consider all factors and make the right judgement, compromise, decision...DO NOT EVER ELECT STACEY BENNET AGAIN!!

Anonymous said...

Judge Stacey Bennett is a judge that does not pay attention to details in her court. She allows the attys to manipulate and doesn't have control, or adequate knowledge of procedures. She does individual favors at the expense of children's lives, it's sad that she's still on the bench. She sets one standard for one witness & another for other witnesses then, she uses those standards against whomever she wants to lose. I would never vote her into office & I will actively campaign to keep her out of public office. She's in matrimonial court now, I wonder will she be objective & fair administering the law, bec she was not in family court. She just follows trends instead of following the rules of law.

Anonymous said...

Stacy Bennett should not only be removed she should be disbarred. She does not read motions and instead decides cases based on the political connections of your attorney.

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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