According to The Sag Harbor
Express Robert H. Tembeckjian, the state commission’s administrator, had argued for Burke’s removal from office. “I recommended removal, but the commission voted
to censure the judge,” Tembeckjian wrote in a statement issued on Wednesday morning.
A censure is an official reprimand of a public official for inappropriate conduct.
The Commission on Judicial Conduct, in a 9-0 decision, said Burke should be sanctioned for four misconduct charges:
For using his position to promote his law firm; imposing speeding ticket fines of $200 which is in excess of the $150 maximum authorized by law; for making political contributions of approximately $7,500 during the years 2004-2010, and for riding in a police car with a DWI client after having arraigned him in court and subsequently suggesting that the defendant hire his business partner—which the defendant did—in a case that was tried before Justice Burke.
Newsday reports that Burke, 72, is a Sag Harbor resident and has presently been a Southampton Town judge since 2008. He had previously served in that post from 1994 to 2000, according to the commission.
From 2000 to 2007, Burke was a judge of the Court of Claims and an acting Supreme Court justice and is currently a partner at the law firm of Burke and Sullivan in Southampton.
Although censure is a public reprimand it can be appealed, but Justice Burke’s attorney, Paul Shechtman of Zuckerman Spaeder said in a statement to the Riverhead News-Review that his client would not appeal the decision, as he is no longer subject to removal from the bench.