New York, NY – The New York Commission on Judicial Conduct determined that an acting state Supreme Court justice should be admonished for trying to use her influence after crashing into a police van by telling officers to “just let it slide.”
Justice Shari Michels, who was elected to the New York City Civil Court, was driving to a courthouse in the Bronx in August of 2015 when she ran into the back of a police van near Yankee Stadium, according to The Post-Standard.
The judicial commission’s investigation found that Michels had been sitting behind the police van at a red light when the incident occurred.
The light turned green and the judge moved forward and hit the police vehicle.
There were no injuries and there was no damage to the vehicles, according to the investigation conducted by the judicial commission.
However, after she crashed into the back of the police van, Michels hopped out and introduced herself as a judge right away to the officers.
Then the judge repeatedly challenged officers who said they needed to file a police report because a department vehicle was involved, The Post-Standard reported.
Michels told one police officer “he did not have to make a report and should ‘just let it slide,’ or words to that effect, because there were no injuries or damage to the vehicles," according to the investigation.
The judicial commission’s investigation found that Michels had approached at least three different police officers with her request to not have a report filed after she introduced herself as a judge.
The incident lasted for about 45 minutes and a police report was eventually filed, The Post-Standard reported.
Later, Michels told the judicial commission she introduced herself as a judge so the officers would not think she would flee from the scene.
But the judicial commission ruled that Michels had tried to use her influence as a judge to avoid having an accident report filed, The Post-Standard reported.
“Public confidence in the fair and proper administration of justice requires that judges, who are sworn to uphold the law, neither request nor receive special treatment when the laws are applied to them personally," the commission said in their decision, according to The Post-Standard.
The judicial commission’s recommendation will be sent to the state’s highest court for review.
Michels is currently presiding over a case in the Bronx Supreme Court and Office of Court Administration said the decision regarding her status would be made after that trial had concluded, the New York Law Journal reported.
The Office of Court Administration said it was likely that Michels would have her status as an acting Supreme Court justice revoked for two years, according to the New York Law Journal.
This will be the second time Michels has been disciplined by the judicial conduct commission.
She was admonished after her first election for falsely telling voters she had been endorsed the by New York Times, according to the New York Law Journal.