• June 24, 2024

WHOA: Judge Booted From Bench After Pulling A Gun On Defendant….

A judge who presided over a small town in upstate New York was removed from office due to an incident in 2015 in which he pulled a loaded gun on a defendant he believed to be a threat.

Since 2014, Robert J. Putorti has presided over Whitehall Town and Village Court as the judge. About 80 miles to the north of Albany sits Whitehall.

Putorti, a white male, alleged in the state Court of Appeals’ ruling on Thursday that he had been threatened by a “big black man.”

“It is indefensible and inimical to the role of a judge to brandish a loaded weapon in court, without provocation or justification, then brag about it repeatedly with irrelevant racial remarks,” Robert H. Tembeckjian, administrator for the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct, said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

“The Court’s ruling today makes clear that there is no place on the bench for one who behaves this way,” Tembeckjian said.

He called the incident “a very singular act of misconduct,” according to The New York Times.

“We have never had a situation other than this case, where a judge — with or without justification — pointed a gun at a litigant in a courthouse,” Tembeckjian said.

According to the court’s decision, Putorti, who was licensed to carry the firearm, used a magnet to secure it to the underside of his desk while in court.

 

It stated that he acknowledged that neither an assistant district attorney there at the time nor a police officer in the courtroom would corroborate his account of what happened that day.

Putorti gave the second judge the “impression” that he was “bragging about his actions and that he was expressing pride about being featured in the article” when he showed her an article about his actions that day, according to the ruling.

In its penalty memorandum from the previous year, the Commission on Judicial Conduct, which advocated for Putorti’s dismissal, stated that in one version of events, he yelled, “Woah, woah, woah, slow down,” at a defendant who was charging at him.

Putorti gave varying accounts of the defendant’s appearance, calling him a “big black man,” “agitated,” well over six feet tall, and “built like a football player.”

The commission stated that the male in question was 165 pounds in weight and 6 feet tall.

In October 2022, the judge was placed on suspension while the appeals court considered his case.

Based on the results of the election held in Washington County, Putorti was last elected in 2021 without facing any opposition.

The court stated that by aiding the local Elks Lodge in its fundraising efforts in 2021—an activity that judges are prohibited from engaging in—he further proved his “unfitness for office.”

 

Patriots Beacon