On Monday, April 15, 2024, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended that St. Lawrence County Court Judge Gregory P. Storie be censured for making inappropriate statements about a murder case he was presiding over.

The Commission determined that in January 2023, while discussing unrelated cases with attorneys in his chambers, Judge Storie brought up the high-profile murder trial People v Snow that he was overseeing. Judge Storie inquired whether the defendant in that case would plead guilty as charged, and stated that if he did not, the judge would impose a sentence of 25 years to life. The judge added that any lighter sentence would not look good to the media or the victim’s family. When asked what incentive the defendant would have to plead guilty under such circumstances, Judge Storie remarked that the defendant appeared “catatonic.”

This interaction led the prosecuting and defense attorneys, St. Lawrence County District Attorney Gary M. Pasqua and Public Defender James M. McGahan, to jointly request that Judge Storie recuse himself from the Snow case, which he did. The Commission found that by making statements indicating his sentencing decision would be influenced by outside public opinion and conveying his bias against the defendant, Judge Storie failed to appear fair and unbiased, violating proper judicial conduct.

This was not the first time Judge Storie has faced allegations of misconduct. Just one month prior, in December 2022, he was privately cautioned by the Commission for other ethics violations, including failing to recuse from a case where he was related to individuals involved and improperly increasing a defendant’s bail. The Commission called it “troubling” that Judge Storie committed another violation so soon after his prior censure.

Judge Storie accepted the censure recommended by the Commission. As a censure is the second most severe sanction the Commission can recommend, this public disciplinary action signifies the seriousness of Judge Storie’s actions.

Judge Storie has held the position of Judge in the St. Lawrence County Court since 2021 after previously serving as a Justice in the Canton Village Court (St. Lawrence County) from 2010 to 2012. His present term will conclude on December 31, 2030.

A  copy of the original filing can be found here.