Niagara Gazette

Local News

November 27, 2007

NIAGARA FALLS: Restaino ordered removed

Commission cites abuse of judicial power in March 2005 incident

In a stinging, frequently explosively worded opinion, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has recommended the removal of Judge Robert Restaino from the Falls City Court bench.

The recommendation, issued Nov. 13 and made public late Tuesday afternoon, said Restaino engaged in “an egregious and unprecedented abuse of judicial power” in March 2005 by putting 46 defendants behind bars after no one would take responsibility for a ringing cell phone in his courtroom.

The eight-page decision, supported by nine of the commission’s 10 members, was unrelenting in its criticism of Restaino. Commissioner’s wrote that Restaino behaved like “a petty tyrant” whose behavior constituted “a gross deviation from the proper role of a judge.”

Restaino’s lawyer, Joel Daniels, said the commission had reached the wrong conclusion about the judge.

“I disagree in the strongest possible terms with the commission’s decision,” Daniels said. “Judge Restaino was a credit to the bench and a valued and respected member of the Niagara Falls community, with a great record of accomplishment on and off the bench. With the exception of two hours, his record is spotless.”

Daniels said he had not spoken to Restaino since receiving the commission’s decision and did not know if the judge would appeal the commission’s recommendation. Attorney Terrence Connors, who will replace Daniels, told The Associated Press Restaino would exercise his right to appeal the decision to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, which has the power to reduce the decision to censure instead of removal from the $113,900-a-year post.

Since 1978, the Commission has recommended the removal of 156 judges, 38 of them full-time judges like Restaino, across the state. The Court of Appeals has reviewed 85 commission recommendations since its creation and upheld those decisions 71 times.

Of the remaining 14 cases, two were increased from censure to removal. Twelve recommendations were reduced, while nine recommended removals were modified to censures.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results