New York judge seen shoving police officer will be replaced on the bench

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A New York judge who was censured after being seen on video shoving a police officer during a brawl with neighbors will be replaced on the bench, authorities said Wednesday.

Judge Mark Grisanti, an acting State Supreme Court justice in Buffalo, has been serving as a “holdover” since his term on the Court of Claims expired last year, essentially waiting to be reappointed. His name did not appear on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s list of 25 judicial nominees considered Wednesday by the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee and he was not reappointed, according to a spokesman for Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, the commission’s chair.

Court spokesman Al Baker said Grisanti would remain in his position until a new judge begins his term.

Grisanti had not received formal notice Wednesday that he would not be reappointed, said his attorney, Terrence Connors.

New York’s Commission on Judicial Conduct voted in April to censure Grisanti but narrowly declined the administrator’s recommendation that he be removed from office after finding that he displayed “especially poor judgment” for his actions in June 2020. The commission also faulted Grisanti for participating in legal cases involving an attorney who had made payments to him as part of a business deal.

Connors said Grisanti had been an exemplary judge.

“Lawyers and judges who best know his work want him to continue on the bench,” Connors said in an email. “Even the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, after a thorough investigation, confirmed that, on balance, two hours of misconduct do not warrant removal from his position on the court.”

Grisanti’s expletive-filled confrontation with police followed a dispute with neighbors over parking. The shirtless judge is heard on the video telling officers that Mayor Byron Brown is a friend, and that he has relatives on the police force.

At one point, Grisanti shoves a police officer who is attempting to handcuff his wife, telling the officer “you’re going to be sorry.” Grisanti himself is then handcuffed and put in a police car. He was not charged.

Grisanti was first appointed to the court in 2015.

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