The following article, Judge Booted from Bench for Bizarrely Pulling Loaded Gun on Defendant in Court, was first published on Flag And Cross.
A judge who served a small town in upstate New York has been kicked off the bench over a 2015 incident in which he pulled a loaded gun on a defendant he claimed was threatening him.
Robert J. Putorti had been the judge in Whitehall Town and Village Court since 2014. Whitehall is about 80 miles north of Albany.
Putorti “exploited a classic and common racist trope that Black men are inherently threatening or dangerous, exhibiting bias or, at least, implicit bias,” the Court of Appeals ruling said.
“It is indefensible and inimical to the role of a judge to brandish a loaded weapon in court, without provocation or justification, then brag about it repeatedly with irrelevant racial remarks,” Robert H. Tembeckjian, administrator for the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct, said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.
“The Court’s ruling today makes clear that there is no place on the bench for one who behaves this way,” Tembeckjian said.
“We have never had a situation other than this case, where a judge — with or without justification — pointed a gun at a litigant in a courthouse,” Tembeckjian said.
The court’s ruling said Putorti, who had a license to carry the gun, attached it to the underside of his desk using a magnet during court.
It said he admitted that his recounting of the events of that day would not be supported by a police officer in the courtroom or an assistant district attorney who was also there at the time.
The decision also said Putorti had shown another judge an article about his actions that day, giving her the “impression” that he “was bragging about his actions and that he was expressing pride about being featured in the article.”
The Commission on Judicial Conduct, which pushed for Putorti’s removal, said in its sanction memorandum last year that in one variation of the story, he said “woah, woah, woah, slow down” to a defendant rushing at him.
Putorti variously described the defendant as an “agitated” and “big black man” who was well over 6 feet tall and “built like a football player.”
The man in question was 6 feet tall but weighed 165 pounds, the commission said.
The judge was suspended in October 2022 pending the appellate court’s review.
On Friday, the state Court of Appeals determined Judge Robert J. Putorti Jr. is immediately suspended from office as the Whitehall town and village courts justice while they review the appeal of his removal from office. https://t.co/0ANjeSnkDo
— The Post-Star (@poststar) October 27, 2022
Putorti had last been elected in 2021, running unopposed, according to Washington County’s election results.
The court said he further demonstrated his “unfitness for office” by helping the local Elks Lodge raise money in 2021, an activity judges are banned from doing.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
Continue reading: Judge Booted from Bench for Bizarrely Pulling Loaded Gun on Defendant in Court ...