The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct announced that Jason Novak, a Justice of the Hornby Town Court in Steuben County resigned after being served with formal charges by the Commission for failing for more than a year to attend or complete a judicial training and certification program required of all town and village justices who are not lawyers, and for failing to cooperate with the Commission during its investigation of the matter.
“Competence in the law is essential to the role of a judge. A non-lawyer town or village justice may not discharge the duties of office without completing a training and certification program. Judge Novak’s failure to do so was compounded by his failure to respond to Commission inquiries and required his departure from office,” Commission Administrator Robert Tembeckjian said.
The formal charges included the following:
– Judge Novak was elected in November 2019 with a single write-in vote.
– He filed his oath of office in February 2020.
– He did not attend any of the three judicial training programs offered by the court system between September 2020 and April 2021, and therefore was not certificated to assume judicial duties.
– He did not hear any cases or draw a judicial salary.
– He failed to respond to four letters from the Commission regarding his training and certification status.
Judge Novak, who formally vacated office on June 7, 2021, agreed never to seek or accept judicial office at any time in the future. The Commission accepted a stipulation to that effect signed by the judge and the Commission’s Administrator and closed its formal proceeding.
Judge Novak had been a Justice of the Hornby Town Court since 2020. His term would have expired on December 31, 2023.
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