Hudson Valley Judge Under Investigation Resigning from Position
It appears that a local Hudson Valley justice has found himself in quite a bit of hot water. Clarkstown Justice Scott Ugell recently made the decision to step down from his position. The decision was announced via the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.This decision comes in the wake of Judge Ugell being under investigation following numerous complaints made against him.
Allegations Made Against Clarkstown Justice
First and foremost it should be stated that before the recent announcement, the investigation was still ongoing meaning that any complaints or allegations were just that. Court documents regarding the recent announcement say the same in that the Commission had not...
rendered any substantive determinations as to the foregoing complaints.
With that being said, Judge Ugell had 3 specific complaints against him that led to the investigation.
Documents show that the first complaint came in March of this year when Ugell was accused of failing to disclose that a lawyer in a case he presided over personally represented him in another unrelated matter. In addition, he was also accused of not allowing the opposing party an opportunity 'to be heard'.
The second complaint in April alleged that Ugell became a candidate for Clarkstown Town Supervisor without stepping down from his position as the Clarkstown Justice.
Finally, there was the third complaint, where it was alleged that Ugell made a false testimony under oath in a court case against him 'King and Sweet v Ugell and Garvey and the Rockland County Board of Elections. This case materialized from the allegations made in the second complaint.
Aftermath of Resignation
With the resignation, the soon-to-be former Judge Ugell has agreed to fully and completely step away from his position by June 30, 2023. Originally Judge Ugell term was supposed to end on December 31, 2025. With the resignation, Ugell also agreed to never seek or accept another judicial office at any point in time in the future.
The resignation agreement also required that the commission agree to some stipulations. Namely, the investigation into Judge Ugell will end. It was also stated, however, that if Ugell did ever seek to hold office again, the commission would 'revive' the investigation.
Finally, as for Judge Ugell's rights, he waived his right to 'confidentiality'. This right can be found in section 45 of Judiciary Law where it states...
Except as hereinafter provided, all complaints, correspondence, commission proceedings and transcripts thereof, other papers and data and records of the commission shall be confidential and shall not be made available to any person
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This is legal speak meaning that information regarding the commission's investigation will be kept under lock and key and out of the public eye.
Judge Ugell through his attorney released a statement following the announcement of the agreement stating in part...
Judge Ugell agreed to conclude this investigation with the understanding that the stipulation is not an admission or concession of guilt, and, in fact, includes that there was no finding of wrongdoing.
The statement would also go on to say that Judge Ugell wished to avoid the 'inconvenience' of a prolonged litigation process and that he would still continue to 'practice law, assisting his clients and even participating in future bar association activities'.