Queens Judge Faces Removal After ‘Belligerent’ Remarks, Failure to Comply With Investigation

By Evan Rosen

A Queens Civil Court Judge currently under investigation for “belligerent, rude and condescending” remarks he allegedly made to attorneys inside his courtroom could soon learn his fate, the New York Law Journal reported.

The New York Court of Appeals heard arguments last week about the possible removal of Judge Terrence O’Connor. The Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended O’Connor be removed from his judgeship for his behavior and for failing to cooperate with the ensuing investigation.

Jonathan Edelstein, managing partner at Edelstein & Grossman in Manhattan, served as counsel for O’Connor. Edelstein told the Law Journal that while he thinks O’Connor acted inappropriately, removal would be too severe a punishment.

“I’m certainly not saying that he handled this well,” Edelstein said, adding that O’Connor had complied with the investigation by sending a detailed letter to the commission in response its inquiry.

The law requires that a judge appear before the commission during a hearing, however.

Judge Jenny Rivera said she believed there were grounds for removal based on O’Connor’s behavior during the investigation.

“How can there be public confidence in a member of the bench who undermines and intentionally fails to cooperate with a body tasked with determining whether or not the judge has violated the law?” Rivera said.

An official decision has not yet been made.

One of the behaviors under investigation was O’Connor scolding of attorney who said “OK” to their witnesses.

In April, O’Connor — who was previously censured in 2013 — called the investigation a “f—ing clown show,” the New York Post reported.

O’Connor has been suspended with pay by the Court of Appeals since May. He reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 in December.

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