HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) - A village justice in Hamburg should be admonished for his actions, according to the NYS Commission on Judicial Conduct.
The commission found Justice Andrew Fleming acted improperly by serving as the attorney for a 15-year-old rape victim and the girl's family in a lawsuit against her attacker, Clarence Justice.
Fleming was the judge who issued an arrest warrant for Justice and arraigned him. During the criminal case, which was prosecuted in State Supreme Court, the girl's father, who is friends with Fleming, called the village justice on multiple occasions for advice, according to the commission. It also found Fleming called the State Supreme Court judge presiding over Justice's trial and spoke to him regarding the case.
The commission determined, "A part-time judge who practices law must maintain a strict separation between the exercise of judicial duties and the judge's private practice of law" and that Fleming "should have recognized that it was improper for him to represent the victim in any related matters."
Fleming has 30 days to determine if he will accept the commission's determination or request a review by the Court of Appeals. If no review is requested, Fleming will be admonished, which is the lowest form of sanction behind censure and removal.
Fleming's current term as village justice expires next April.
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