Letters to the editor April 16 to 22
After reading parts of the NY State Commission on Judicial Conduct’s (SCJC) determination, news articles and public opinion comments regarding reported misconduct and transgressions of Judge Michael E. McGuire during his 10-year term as a Sullivan County Court Judge, I respectfully request that the Sullivan County Legislature reconsider their recommendation to hire Judge McGuire as the Sullivan County Attorney. In a statement on March 27, SCJC Administrator Robert Tembeckjian was quoted as saying, “The breadth of Judge McGuire’s misconduct is stunning.” Equally or more stunning is the March 26 statement of SC Legislature Chairman Doherty that, before voting on the proffer of the SC Attorney position to Judge McGuire, legislators had been supplied with and “thoroughly investigated” the complaints contained in that SCJC referee’s report. Still they proceeded with and continue to stand by this proffer. The chairman’s assertion that legislators had seen and “thoroughly investigated” the complaints against Judge McGuire before they voted seems to be refuted by District 6 Legislator Luis Alvarez’s statement: “We (Legislators) should have been allowed the time to see that report and make a decision.” Judge McGuire’s supporters have advanced the argument that his misconduct should be overlooked because it was less egregious than some other judges have done. Is that the standard we should go by here, Judge McGuire, “not as bad as the other guys?”
In the best interests of the people of Sullivan County, please take the time now to review the SCJC report and offer this important judicial position to another, more suitable candidate. Thank you for considering this request.
Star D. Hesse
Sullivan County has distinguished itself by having two of its citizens being appointed as chief judges of the New York State Court of Appeals, which is the highest and most prestigious legal entity. First was Lawrence H. Cooke who started as a country judge and then served as chief judge from 1979 to 1984. Then, between 1993 and 2008, Judith Kaye was the first woman to serve as chief justice and became the person to hold this office for the longest amount of time. Both of these Sullivan County Judges demonstrated the highest moral character and judicial excellence.
Contrast the above judicial record with the following: Recently, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has determined that Judge Michael McGuire should be removed from office, given the seriousness and breadth of his misconduct, as well as the lack of candor. The commission found the judge’s repeated abuse of the summary contempt power and his representation of clients while a full-time judge met the standard of truly egregious conduct which warrants his removal.
In spite of all the professional documentation and recommendations, our recently elected Sullivan County Legislators are still ignoring McGuire’s incompetency and lack of ethics and still endorse him to be our next county attorney. What a travesty of justice.
Judge McGuire’s only legal option is to have the current New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge review the commission’s recommendation. In my opinion, if either of our previous chief judges received this case to review, they definitely would have upheld the commission’s report for removal.
I want the Sullivan County Legislators to review the facts and decisions and withdraw their previous endorsement of Judge McGuire’s appointment to county attorney. Our county deserves the best.
Allan Abramson, MD
Generally, the way you and I function is that we believe our senses and act accordingly. If you see your house on fire but I tell you, even insist, that there is no fire, you are still going to run for the hose. “Seeing is believing,” as the old phrase puts it.
But things are not always that simple. Our current president is an acknowledged master of spin who is adept at twisting the truth. Throughout his presidency, by selectively forgetting, distorting, recasting and simply lying, he has encouraged people to believe some remarkable folly. He is the multiple draft dodger who some believe is heroic. He is the philanderer with solid fundamentalist Christian backing. He is the business guru with multiple bankrupt and failed businesses who can’t close a deal, but to whom many on Wall Street nevertheless respond.
But everyone meets their match, as Trump has met the virus. Despite Trump claiming the virus was a hoax, the truth has become apparent. The president and Fox News tried their best to spin and distort, but as the death count surged, it engulfed all of their denial static. They couldn’t hide the bodies.
As surely as the virus has increasingly killed real people, it has also extinguished the president’s denial strategy. Clumsily pivoting, he has recast himself and claimed he always knew it was a pandemic. Should the deaths be “limited” to 100,000 to 200,000 Americans, the president wants to claim full credit for his “heroic” efforts. It turns out, that even for a spin master, death is hard to argue with. Many intend to give this president full credit for the blood on his hands, and for his extraordinary actions and inactions in these times of pandemic. Are you going to believe this president or the death count?