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Local News

December 20, 2012

Bainbridge judge quits over allegations

A Bainbridge town justice is stepping down as the result of a disciplinary case, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct said.

Gary F. Anderson of Bainbridge Town Court in Chenango County resigned without admitting to any charges, the commission said, and he won’t seek judicial office again.

Documents allege that Anderson mishandled several cases in 2011 and 2012, failing to advise a defendant of the right to an attorney, inappropriately questioning defendants at arraignment and finding defendants guilty without a plea, trial or opportunity for cross-examination.

The cases described in the complaint dealt primarily with traffic and code violations. One instance described in the documents involved a defendant appearing before Anderson for a traffic ticket. When the defendant told Anderson he was interested in a plea bargain, the judge responded by asking, “What happened?,” according to the complaint. The charge was later dismissed. 

“Without being sworn, defendant recited the events leading to his ticket and, in essence, admitted the charge,” the complaint alleges. 

In another case, the judge allegedly imposed a fine and a surcharge on a defendant charged with marijuana possession without her ever entering a plea or being tried for the charge. 

“I hope they don’t change this marijuana thing to a misdemeanor someday,” Anderson said, according to the complaint. “Then you’ve got to get attorneys involved and all that.” 

Anderson has been a Bainbridge court justice since November 2008, commission documents said, and his term was to expire Dec. 31, 2013.

He was served with a formal complaint dated Sept. 17, 2012, with six charges of judicial misconduct, the commission said.

Anderson’s resignation was dated Oct. 25 and he was to vacate his office as of Nov. 30.

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