Right now in New York, judges are not meaningfully evaluated even after years on the bench—and most judges are automatically reappointed or renominated for additional terms. This must change.

As public servants, judges should serve the public. And as government officials with set terms—not life appointments—they should have to earn additional time on the bench.

We demand that Governor Hochul help create The Court New York Deserves by no longer reappointing the cruelest, most unfit judges to new terms—starting with Justice Vincent Del Giudice.

The Problem

Judges’ Decisions Affect All New Yorkers

State court judges decide cases that affect all of us. They make decisions about freedom or incarceration in criminal court. They decide the fates of families and children in family court. They determine whether tenants receive protections from abusive landlords in housing court. They interpret our state’s constitution and define the extent of our constitutional rights. They can hold the government accountable for rights violations or choose not to do so, and much more. State courts touch every part of New Yorkers’ lives, and judges decide whether courts will protect or harm us.

But New York’s courts have a well-documented history of perpetuating injustices and inequities that disproportionately harm communities of color and poor New Yorkers. It is time to demand better from our judges and hold them accountable to the communities they’re meant to serve.


Judges Should Have to Earn New Terms

New York’s judges are elected or appointed to terms in office, not given life tenure. Our systems of judicial selection are designed so New Yorkers and our elected officials can evaluate judges’ records—and to ensure that judges earn additional terms by serving honorably.

But too many people with influence over judicial selection have come to take for granted that once judges are put on the bench, they will serve until they reach the mandatory retirement age. Too many elected officials and political parties rubberstamp judges when their terms are up, giving them decades more on the bench without evaluating their records.

This practice must end. Judges who show themselves to be unfit to serve on the bench—who mistreat and disrespect the people in their courtrooms, who do not hold themselves to the high standard of conduct we expect of judges, or who are so harsh that they are repeatedly reigned in by other judges—do not belong on the bench and must not be rewarded with new terms. They hurt our communities and dishonor the entire judicial system.


Vincent Del Giudice Has Shown He Is Unfit for the Bench

I believe the public should know what's going on in the courtroom.

So, for the record, the public has the right to know what's going on in their courtrooms.

— Justice Vincent Del Giudice

One such judge has been serving for 22 years—and has clearly shown everyone who he is. Justice Vincent Del Giudice has a long record of cruelty and impropriety on the bench. 

Appeals courts have the power to overturn or reduce sentences when they are so excessive that they are “against the interest of justice.” Since 2007, higher courts have reduced 19 sentences that Justice Del Giudice has handed out, solely for being too excessive—more than twice as many as any other active judge. Even more, the number of years taken off sentences imposed by Justice Del Giudice is more than six times than that of any other active judge: Justice Del Giudice’s sentences have been reduced by more than 500 years, compared to 80 years for the judge with the next highest total. Justice Del Giudice’s peers in the court system have repeatedly had to rein him in. And transcripts and judicial decisions from the court system document Justice Del Giudice’s unfit temperament and frequent cruelty.

Read more about Justice Del Giudice’s record here—and if you have had personal experiences with Justice Del Giudice, let us know about them here.


Our Demand: A Small Step Toward a Better Court System

Governor Hochul recently said that we must “transform the judiciary and make it more responsive to the people we’re all here to serve.” We share this vision for our state courts, but this can only be a reality if Governor Hochul puts these values into practice, starting by not renominating the most unfit judges.

Justice Del Giudice was first appointed to the bench in 2002. His most recent term has now expired.

We demand that Governor Hochul not reward Justice Del Giudice with any more time on the bench and instead immediately nominate a new judge to replace him.

Accountability for the harshest, most unfit judges in New York is only a first step toward a court system that delivers equal justice for all New Yorkers. Far more will remain to be done. But this first step forward is critical.


Rally + Press Conference Outside Court of Appeals Building in Albany

Thursday, November 3, 11 a.m. –  12 p.m. ET

New York is about to get a new Chief Judge.

For the next 14 years, this judge will lead the Court of Appeals—New York’s highest court—and the ...


For press inquiries, reach out to Peter F. Martin at pmartin@communityalternatives.org.

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