The State of New York Commission on Judicial Conduct has determined (here) that Saratoga County Family Court Judge Gilbert Abramson should be removed from the bench for failure (on several occasions and despite warnings) to notify defendants of their right to counsel. The judge also made “offensive remarks of a sexual nature to and about a litigant.” When Judge Abramson was serving in the Family Treatment Court, he commented on a cartoon picture of a turtle on a t-shirt worn by a defendant named Wendy. The other women speaking on the record were Assistant County Attorney, Karen D’Andrea, and Rebecca Dixon, the Resource Coordinator for the Treatment Court team.
JUDGE ABRAMSON: Let me talk to my friend Wendy, who has to have her meniscus done.
JUDGE ABRAMSON: Yeah.
KAREN D’ANDREA: Look at her shirt.
WENDY: It says, ‘Cranky but adorable so I’m worth it.’
JUDGE ABRAMSON: It’s a shirt with a penis on it. I don’t understand. It’s a turtle, right?
JUDGE ABRAMSON: So you’re walking – you’re hobbling. That’s what it looks like. Its very phallic, and it’s a penis with a smile on it. I’ve embarrassed (unintelligible). She’s blushing. I didn’t know I could do that. (unintelligible). So you got to get your meniscus done. You’re hobbling like crazy. You go side to side.
WENDY: Well no — yeah.
JUDGE ABRAMSON: That’s the meniscus. So you go for the MRI and your doctor. She’s (unintelligible). She’s got the giggles.
FEMALE VOICE: Now I look at turtles in a whole different way. Oh god. It’s going to change them forever.
WENDY: Naw, I ain’ts going to wear this shirt again.
JUDGE ABRAMSON: Did you ever see a sad turtle? They’re happy to be like – because that turtle, that’s a turtle on Viagra. It’s erect; it’s smiling. And you never see a sad Mrs. Turtle, because they’re fully satisfied. They always (intelligible). So I had the meniscus surgery done. It was a day. There are three little incisions. They go in and they’re done and you’re home. And I went to work the next day. But as Becky (unintelligible) points out (sic), ‘You sit on your judicial ass all day. So you could sit and do your job.’ She didn’t really say that. But you work, you’re standing on your feet. But it will be a couple of days. That’s a small potato surgery. But shc’s going to puke she’s laughing so hard. This is like the highlight of my day. (Unintelligible). So you’ll get this surgery done, because it’s a small procedure. It’s not laparoscopic, but they usc a little machine and it’s done and then you go home. She’s got the giggles. I’m bringing down the house.
FEMALE VOICE: Everybody’s–
JUDGE ABRAMSON: — It feels good. You can’t look at your shirt without feeling aroused.
In the ABA article, Judge Abramson’s lawyer says that Abrahmson’s mistakes were “largely technical.”