A village judge in Suffolk County has resigned and been disbarred from the judicial bench for life after learning of an investigation by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct into her alleged misconduct, the agency said on Thursday.
Ellen D. Fishkin, a justice of Head of the Harbor Village Court, learned of the commission’s investigation in April, after complaints of several instances of alleged misconduct that included allegedly shoving a prosecutor and calling another prosecutor anti-Semitic for not offering a lenient plea to an associate of Fishkin’s husband. Another complaint was added to the investigation in May involving an audit of the court’s finances by the Office of the State Comptroller. Fishkin agreed to resign and never seek judicial office again to have the investigation dropped on May 6, according to the commission.
“The allegations against Judge Fishkin were multiple and serious, particularly the complaints that she shoved one prosecutor and derogated another who would not show favoritism to an associate of the judge’s husband,” Commission Administrator Robert H. Tembeckjian said in a statement. “Under the circumstances, Judge Fishkin’s departure from office is appropriate.”
According to the commission, the complaints stated that Fishkin:
“allegedly shoved or pushed a Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney (ADA) outside her courtroom while court was in session and the courtroom was full of lawyers, litigants, and others”
“accused a different ADA of being ‘anti-Semitic’ when the ADA would not offer a lenient plea to an associate of the judge’s husband in a Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) matter”
‘inappropriately turned court audio recording equipment on and off in the middle of court proceedings”
“presided over and took pleas in VTL matters without an ADA present”
“locked the court while she was away to prevent the Associate Village Justice from presiding over matters in her absence”
“exhibited inappropriate demeanor on the bench and in interactions with Suffolk County prosecutors, other attorneys and litigants.”
Fishkin is an attorney and was a justice of the Head of the Harbor Village Court since 1996. Her current term would have ended in April 2023.
According to the Head of the Harbor Village website, “The Justice Court is currently adjourned. Court will not be held on June 17, 2021. Adjournment dates will be assigned as soon as possible.”