On Thursday, October 6, 2022, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct determined that Alois W. Kraker, a Justice of the Greenville Town Court, Greene County, should be censured for misconduct in small claims cases.
The judge was charged with violating Sections 100.1, 100.2(A), 100.3(B)(1), (2), (3) and (4), 100.3(B)(6), 100.3(B)(8), 100.3(C)(1) and (2), 100.3(E)(1) and 100.3(F) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct.
The complaint, dated March 15, 2022, contains three charges of misconduct, such as failing to disqualify
himself where he had a business relationship with a party, engaging in prohibited communications about pending cases, making rude remarks about litigants, and for failing to report monetary receipts to the State Comptroller as required by law.
The charges alleged that for eight months in 2020-21, Judge Kraker failed to report the receipt of court monies to the State Comptroller, which resulted in his salary being stopped. In 2018, Judge Kraker allegedly failed in two small claims cases to disclose his business relationship with one of the parties, and he failed to administer the required oath or affirmation to the litigants. The judge also made rude and undignified statements about the defendant in a small claims case and had a substantive conversation about the preceding small claims case with a litigant in the next case.
On September 7, 2022, the Administrator of the Commission, Judge Kraker, and his attorney, entered into an Agreed Statement of Facts, stipulating the facts and sanction and waiving further submissions and oral argument. Judge Kraker agreed to the censure and took several judicial training and education courses as part of the disposition of the charges against him.
The filing states:
“In accepting the jointly recommended sanction of censure, we have taken into consideration that respondent has acknowledged that his conduct was improper and warrants public discipline and that he has completed pertinent continuing judicial education courses. We trust that respondent has learned from this experience and in the future will act in strict accordance with his obligation to abide by all the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct.
By reason of the foregoing, the Commission determines that the appropriate disposition is censure.”
The Commission transmitted its determination to the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. A judge may either accept the Commission’s determination or, within 30 days from receipt, make a written request to the Chief Judge for a review of the determination by the Court of Appeals. If Judge Kraker does not request a review by the Court of Appeals, the Commission will censure him in accordance with the determination.
Judge Kraker, who is not an attorney, has been a Justice of the Greenville Town Court since 2017. His current term expires on December 31, 2024.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.