On Monday, December 11, 2023, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct announced that John P. Orzel had resigned from his position as Justice of the Triangle Town Court in Broome County. Judge Orzel resigned while facing formal charges from the Commission relating to an incident in September 2023 where he physically accosted a female Department of Motor Vehicles clerk in the courtroom.

According to the release, Judge Orzel initiated a public argument with the clerk who was operating a DMV mobile office inside the courtroom. During the argument, Judge Orzel repeatedly poked the clerk on her left shoulder with his finger. He also made inappropriate and discourteous remarks to her before complaining about her to her supervisors. As a result of this conduct, Judge Orzel was served with a Formal Written Complaint by the Commission in September.

Rather than go through a full hearing on the charges, Judge Orzel elected to resign from his position. His resignation was formalized in a stipulation signed on November 28, 2023, and approved by the Commission in an order issued on December 7, 2023. The resignation will take effect at 12:01 AM on January 1, 2024. Judge Orzel, who has served on the Triangle Town Court since 2018, would have had his term expire on December 31, 2025.

In the release, Commission Administrator Robert Tembeckjian called Judge Orzel’s actions “dismaying” and said his resignation was an “appropriate” outcome that allowed for his “permanent departure from the bench.”

A copy of the original filing can be found here.