On Friday, May 3, 2024, The Buffalo News reported that Mark J. Grisanti’s lawyer said he hopes the governor will keep his client as a judge.

Terrence M. Connors, who represented acting State Supreme Court Judge Mark J. Grisanti, commented on Grisanti’s situation after he was censured by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct for shoving a Buffalo police officer during a neighbor dispute in 2020. The commission decided against removing Grisanti from office by a narrow 6-4 vote. However, the commission was highly critical of Grisanti’s behavior and said he “fell far short” of the standards expected of a judge.

Now Grisanti awaits a decision from New York Governor Kathy Hochul on whether she will reappoint him to his $232,600 annual position, as his temporary appointment expired in July. Connors stated his hope that Hochul will follow the commission’s lead and allow Grisanti to keep his judgeship.

Connors argued that the neighborhood incident was an unfortunate situation but does not reflect on Grisanti’s performance as a judge. He said Grisanti was under tremendous stress at the time due to tensions with neighbors, difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and illnesses and deaths in his family – including caring for his sick mother, who passed away a few weeks later.

To further advocate for his client, Connors noted that retired judge Eugene F. Pigott Jr. testified as a character witness for Grisanti. In addition, colleagues who spoke at Grisanti’s hearing before the commission praised him as a “hard-working, fair, and courteous” judge. Connors asserted that “nobody should be judged based on their conduct during the worst two hours of their life.”

However, the commission’s administrator Robert H. Tembeckjian said he backed removing Grisanti from office entirely. And Governor Hochul’s spokesperson stated that Hochul will consider the commission’s disciplinary decision while also respecting law enforcement officers. With the governor now weighing whether to reappoint Grisanti, his political and legal future remains uncertain.



Source: The Buffalo News