On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct announced that Alec H. Friedmann, a Justice of the North Elba Town Court in Essex County, resigned from his position after formal misconduct charges were brought against him by the Commission.

Friedmann had been charged in November 2023 with two counts of improper conduct. First, it was alleged that he failed to recuse himself from a criminal case despite being biased against the defense attorney. He was also accused of having unauthorized private communications about the case and improperly dismissing charges without notifying the prosecution. These actions violated legal protocols.

The second charge was that Friedmann demonstrated hostility towards a defense lawyer in retaliation for a previous complaint that the attorney had filed against the judge with the Commission in 2019.

Rather than contest the charges at a formal hearing, Friedmann chose to resign from his post effective December 31, 2023. As part of his resignation agreement, he also agreed to never again serve as a judge. The Commission formally accepted Friedmann’s resignation on March 14, 2024.

Friedmann has been a justice at the North Elba Town Court since 2019 and his term was set to end on December 31, 2026. He does not have a law degree but oversees criminal court cases as a local judge.

In their press release, the Commission noted that apart from being fair and courteous, retaliation against individuals who file complaints is unacceptable. Since 2003 over 130 judges have resigned through similar conduct stipulations. The Commission oversees the conduct of all judges in New York and has the power to admonish, censure, or remove judges for misconduct.

A copy of the press release can be found here.