On Monday, May 6, 2024, Mitchell Q. Soules, Jr., a Justice of the Little Falls Town Court in Herkimer County, New York, resigned from his position after pleading guilty to a felony charge related to drug possession and sale.

According to a news release from the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, Judge Soules was arrested last June and charged with criminal possession and intent to sell cocaine, a controlled substance. He faced additional charges for criminal drug possession. The case was prosecuted by the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office.

The Commission, which oversees misconduct investigations of New York state judges, authorized an investigation into Judge Soules following his felony arrest. In September 2023, they approved investigating a separate complaint alleging the judge improperly invoked his judicial role in an attempt to get local police to drive him home after becoming stranded.

Soules pleaded guilty in April 2024 to criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a felony. As part of a signed stipulation with the Commission, he agreed to permanently resign from his judgeship and to never again seek or hold any judicial role in New York. The stipulation was accepted by the Commission.

Judge Soules, who was first elected to the Little Falls Town Court in 2022, waived usual confidentiality rules pertaining to Commission proceedings. This allowed details of his plea and resignation stipulation to be publicly disclosed. His term was set to expire at the end of 2025.

In a statement, Commission Administrator Robert Tembeckjian said public trust is destroyed when a judge engages in criminal drug trafficking, as it damages the integrity of the entire court system. However, he noted accountability and oversight from law enforcement and ethics boards help protect the public by removing untrustworthy individuals from positions of authority.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.