On Monday, October 23, 2023, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct announced that Benjamin L.F. Leavitt, a Justice of the Ossining Town Court in Westchester County, had been found guilty of judicial misconduct and was recommended for admonition.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Benjamin L.F. Leavitt,”
According to the Commission’s determination, Judge Leavitt had violated his ethical obligations by contacting his co-judge in an attempt to use his influence to assist his mail carrier, who had received parking tickets unrelated to her job. The mail carrier had appeared before the co-judge and entered into a plea agreement with the village prosecutor, and the fines imposed reflected the negotiated agreement.
The Commission found that Judge Leavitt’s actions were in violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which prohibits judges from using their position to influence the outcome of a matter pending before another court or agency. The Commission also considered the judge’s unblemished career as a lawyer and a judge, and that he promptly accepted responsibility for his misconduct.
The matter was brought before the Commission by a formal written complaint dated October 4, 2022, containing one charge. Judge Leavitt filed an answer dated November 28, 2022, and the Commission filed a motion for summary determination on January 30, 2023. The judge did not oppose the motion, and the Commission granted it on April 20, 2023, determining that the factual allegations of the complaint were sustained and that the judge’s misconduct was established.
The Commission then heard oral argument on July 20, 2023, and filed a determination dated September 21, 2023, in which six members concurred. The determination stated that Judge Leavitt was to be admonished for his misconduct. Commission members Marvin Ray Raskin and Graham B. Seiter dissented as to the sanction and voted that a private letter of caution was the appropriate disposition.
The Commission’s determination is now public, and Judge Leavitt has been notified. He has 30 days from receipt to make a written request to the Chief Judge for a review of the determination by the Court of Appeals. If he does not request a review, the Commission will admonish him in accordance with the determination.
Judge Leavitt’s courtroom is located at 86 Spring Street Ossining, New York, 10562, US, and, can be reached at (914) 762-8562/(914) 762-7407. His info can be found on townofossining.com.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.