The state lawmakers' involvement is requested as the perceived judicial "ethics" oversight committee, The Commission on Judicial Conduct, has been long-regarded as corrupt itself.
Members of the New York State Assembly asked to begin Articles of Impeachment against two New York State judges: Francis A. Nicholai and Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr.
The last Supreme Court Judge to be Impeached in New York was Justice George G. Barnard-- in 1872. At the time, The New York Times reported that the state Judiciary had "sustained the reign of misrule [and that the] corruption must be purged." The May 3, 1872 New York Times article continues, "The House of Assembly sits today as a great Grand Jury, and had it in their power to purify the judicial atmosphere for all time to come.... A judge sworn to see that justice was done is himself to be impeached for a total want of justice and for corrupt and maladministration of his office."
The push for Impeachment proceedings follows the recent confirmation that the statewide judicial ethics committee, the Commission on Judicial Conduct (the "CJC"), was itself corrupt. The chief counsel of the CJC, Robert Tembeckjian, and his former deputy, Alan W. Friedberg, have become icons of the current statewide ethics scandal in New York-- sometimes referred to as Tammany Hall 2--- a systemic collection of whitewashing and cover-up. Tembeckjian and Friedberg testified in Albany at the New York State Senate Judiciary hearings on June 8, 2009 and stunned those who read the written transcript, or who had viewed the hearing videos. (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE HEARING VIDEO)
In New York State, "articles of impeachment" begin in the State Assembly and require a simple majority vote "to impeach" by members of the New York State Assembly. The impeachment process then moves to the Impeachment Court and the New York State Senate where a conviction, and removal, requires a two-thirds majority vote after a trial. The most famous trial by the New York Impeachment Court involved Governor "Plain Bill" William Sulzer in 1913. His troubled short reign as a Tammany Hall backed governor lasted less than 10 months. Sulzer is the only NY governor to have ever been impeached.
The "Court for the Trial of Impeachments and the Correction of Errors" was established by the New York State Constitution in 1777. The body considered improper acts of a political, moral or ethical nature, along "other subjective points of view." In 1846, the "Court for the Correction of Errors" was abolished as its jurisdiction was transferred to the New York State Court of Appeals. The existing New York "Court for the Trial of Impeachments" has also been called the "Impeachment Court" and the "High Court of Impeachment." In New York, Article 6, Section 24, of the New York State Constitution applies:
Court for trial of impeachments; judgment