By Daniel Wiessner
ALBANY, N.Y., Nov 29 (Reuters) - The New York Court of
Appeals on Thursday continued the suspension with pay of a
Dutchess County village justice facing two felony DWI charges.
In a single-sentence order, the Court of Appeals unanimously
voted to continue the suspension of Pawling Village Justice
Robert Apple, which it first handed down in October, pending the
outcome of his DWI cases.
Apple also maintains a private law practice in Poughkeepsie,
but the suspension applied only to his role as village justice.
He has held the part-time justice position since 1991.
On Thanksgiving 2009, Apple rear-ended another car while
driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.21, more than 2-1/2
times the legal limit, according to the state Commission on
Apple pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor DWI in 2010, and in
January 2012 the commission censured him for his conviction.
On two separate occasions this year, Apple was arrested and
charged with felony drunk driving.
The Court of Appeals sua sponte suspended Apple in October
and gave him 30 days to file a response.
In October, Robert Tembeckjian, the commission's chief
administrator and counsel, urged the court to keep the
suspension in place.
"The commission believes that public confidence in the
integrity of the judiciary ... would be undermined were Judge
Apple to continue to exercise the power of judicial office in
one court while contemporaneously defending against two felony
charges pending against him in other courts," he wrote in the
Oct. 29 letter.
If convicted of a felony, Apple will automatically lose his
judgeship. He has been remanded to a Putnam County jail in lieu
of bail and is due in court Dec. 3.
Tembeckjian on Thursday declined to comment on the decision.
Apple's attorney, Thomas Purcell, did not return a request
The case is the Matter of Robert Apple, New York State Court
of Appeals, No. 239.
For Apple: Thomas Purcell.
For the state Commission on Judicial Conduct: Robert
Follow us on Twitter @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook