On Tuesday, March 5, 2024, Mid Hudson News reported that the New York Court System’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics issued an opinion regarding Hyde Park Town Justice Michael Plass.

According to the article, Justice Plass was elected to the bench in November 2023. However, the Committee determined that due to improper and biased campaign promises, Justice Plass could not apply the law neutrally and impartially in certain matters.

Specifically, the article stated during his campaign, Justice Plass had pledged to incarcerate offenders, exclude drug dealers from the community, ensure maximum sentencing of repeat offenders, and protect victims of domestic violence. However, the law prohibits judicial candidates from making such pledges. Justice Plass had even consulted with the Committee after campaign literature with his pledges was distributed to voters last year.

As a result of these campaign promises, the Committee opinion found Justice Plass to be disqualified from presiding over any criminal cases as well as domestic violence cases, vehicle and traffic law matters, and any cases involving alleged drug dealers during his entire judicial term. He was also prohibited from signing orders of protection for domestic violence victims.

The Committee’s opinion has put an additional workload on the other town justice, Jean McArthur. As the article mentioned, Justice McArthur must now handle both her own court calendar as well as all cases Justice Plass is barred from hearing. However, she is not receiving any extra pay for her doubled workload. Meanwhile, Justice Plass continues to earn his $44,000 yearly salary despite not being able to preside over the majority of cases assigned to him.

Additionally, the article reported the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct would be reviewing the matter of Justice Plass following at least one complaint from a member of the public.

 

 

Source: Mid Hudson News