The State Commission on Judicial Conduct has admonished an appellate level judge who is based in Rochester. The commission says that Nancy Smith, a justice for the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, should be admonished for sending an unsolicited letter on behalf of an inmate who was applying for parole.
Officials say that two years ago, Smith wrote a ltter on her judicial stationery to the parole division expressing support for an inmate who had been convicted of vehicular manslaughter for driving a boat into another boat, resulting in the death of two people. According to the commission, Smith became aware of the inmate's situation through a relative who is a friend of the inmate's mother.
The inmate's request for parole was denied. The state commission says this marks the first time that body has publicly disciplined an Appellate Division judge.
Smith's lawyer issued a statement saying that the judge acknowledges that she made a mistake when she wrote to the parole commission. He says she apologizes for the error and promises nothing like this will ever recur.