ALBANY — New York’s top court on Tuesday suspended Northport Village Justice Paul Senzer with pay, pending its review of whether he should be removed from the bench entirely.
The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct this month recommended Senzer be removed for using “sexist, profane and otherwise degrading language” in a series of emails with clients he was working with as a private attorney.
Senzer’s attorney has said the commission overreached and that, at worst, it should have proposed a warning, not removal. He’s asked the Court of Appeals to review the matter.
Suspension is a standard step taken by the high court while a judge fights to keep his post, a spokesman said.
The court’s action means Senzer, a village justice since 1994, likely will be suspended for at least 12 months, as it typically takes that long to go from filing an appeal to making oral arguments before the court.
David Besso, Senzer’s lawyer, expressed disappointment at the suspension.
“I think they shouldn’t have suspended him because … I think the commission really overstepped,” Besso said.
This month, the judicial panel said Senzer used extremely vulgar language while working as a private attorney representing clients in a Family Court matter. It concluded Senzer’s “misconduct is not simply the occasional use of vulgar language, but a pattern of statements.”
The panel advocated for Senzer’s removal from the bench, saying his language “reveals prejudice and undermines public confidence in the administration of justice.”