Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Robert Restaino


On the morning of 11 March 2005, while presiding over a domestic violence case, Restaino ordered into custody the entire courtroom audience of 46 people after nobody came forward as the owner of a cellphone that rang during proceedings. 14 of the 46 jailed who could not afford to post the bail set were shackled and transported to the county jail and were not released until later that afternoon when reporters started asking about the ruling.  The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct ordered Restaino to be removed from office after finding that Restaino had engaged in "an egregious and unprecedented abuse of judicial power". Through his lawyer,  Restaino indicated that he would be appealing the commission ruling.  On 5 June 2008, Restaino's removal was upheld by the New York Court of Appeals. In a 6-0 decision, the Court stated, "By indiscriminately committing into custody 46 defendants, petitioner deprived them of their liberty without due process, exhibited insensitivity, indifference and a callousness so reproachable that his continued presence on the Bench cannot be tolerated."

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