A Nassau District Court judge has been censured by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct after members found he turned in his required financial disclosure statement 11 months late and failed to cooperate with the commission's investigation.
Judge David McAndrews, who was elected in 2009 and oversees misdemeanor criminal cases, did not file the financial disclosure statement, which should list his debts, financial activities and holdings, by its due date, May 15, 2011, according to a decision released Monday.
Over the next 10 months, he ignored three letters from the commission questioning the missing statement, followed by two requests for him to testify about the matter. He testified in March 2012 and turned in his financial statement in April 2012, the decision said. McAndrews' term ends on Dec. 31, 2016.
His lawyer, Chris McDonough of Garden City, could not explain the judge's failure to respond to the commission, but called the censure "harsh."
"Censure is a harsh, unnecessary punishment for this mistake, especially since he's otherwise an exceptional judge."
McAndrews testified that he believed he did file or attempt to file his 2010 financial disclosure statement electronically, according to the decision. However, the decision stated that McAndrews said he was unable to provide details or documentation to support that claim.
A spokesman for the state Office of Court Administration said his office does not comment on decisions by the Commission on Judicial Conduct.
Commission administrator Robert Tembeckjian said McAndrews was issued a public censure rather than a confidential caution or a public admonishment, both of which are less serious disciplinary dispositions, because he did not cooperate with the commission over several months, which was considered an "aggravating circumstance."
Tembeckjian said when the commission at last reviewed McAndrews' statement, nothing appeared to be amiss.
"Nothing in the filing suggested a concern," he said.
Tembeckjian said of about 1,200 judges in the state required to file financial disclosure statements, four or five are late each year. However, he said it is extremely rare for a judge to ignore correspondence from the commission during an investigation.