Family Court Judge Loses Custody of His Court after Sexist Remarks
It's not often that a judge is removed from his own courtroom, but, that's exactly what happened to a Broome County Family Court Judge following a recent decision involving complaints about sexist remarks and other improprieties.
Judge Richard H. Miller, II, a Family Court Judge in Broome County, was ordered removed from office following a decision by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct in New York City. The verdict, handed down on February 27th, ordered Miller's removal because of "Numerous Acts of Misconduct" including "sexist and otherwise demeaning statements" made to a widowed female court clerk, such as:
• “You look really hot in that outfit. You should always wear that outfit”;
• “If I knew you could also cook, I would have gone for the widow”; and
• “It’s nice to know I still have that effect on you” (in response to her apologizing for using a fan during a hot flash).
The commission also determined Miller screamed at and otherwise belittled another female court clerk and retaliated by filing a complaint against her after she complained about his having berated and demeaned her, according to the order.
The Commission on Judicial Conduct also determined that Miller, who makes $200,400 a year as a judge, failed to appropriately report outside income between 2015 and 2017, as required by law. Additionally, the Commission referenced previous misconducts by the judge including in 2002, when "Judge Miller was censured for presiding over a client’s case and representing defendants in cases originating in his court, practicing law in his court, and sending notices threatening arrest to a defendant in a civil case."
The Commission also cited an incident in 2015 when "the judge was privately cautioned for distributing and displaying misleading campaign signs implying he was the incumbent Family Court judge." Miller first took office in Broome County Family Court in 2015, according to public records.
“Judge Miller committed numerous acts of serious misconduct, any one of which would require stern public discipline," said Commission Administrator Robert H. Tembeckjian. "Denigrating women and retaliating against one who complained, failing to report and pay taxes on significant sums of money, and failing to accept responsibility for his behavior, added to his prior disciplinary record, undermine public confidence in the courts and compel his removal from office,” he added. Additionally, the Commission found that he failed to take responsibility for his misconduct, and it found his excuses “implausible.”
The commission voted 7-2 to remove Miller from the bench. The two dissenting members called for censure. Miller has 30 days to appeal the decision.