HUDSON FALLS - Village Justice Michael Feeder is resigning as he faces multiple charges regarding his conduct in office.
The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has charged Feeder based on five complaints.
According to documents provided by the commission, Feeder is alleged to have improperly invoked the power and prestige of his judicial office when, in December 2004, he followed a motorist who failed to stop for a pedestrian and had the man arrested.
Once charges were filed against the driver, Feeder took judicial action on the case, although he later disqualified himself from hearing the case.
In addition, the complaints allege Feeder:
- Made public comments to support stronger penalties to the village curfew ordinance;
- Had an improper discussion with the mother of a woman who was a defendant in his court, promising the mother before her daughter was arraigned that he would not sentence her to jail;
- Adjourned a case without notifying or asking for the consent of the prosecution; and
- Presided over numerous cases filed by members of the Hudson Falls Police Department without disclosing his personal friendship with Randy Diamond, who was the assistant police chief at the time.
On March 5, Feeder and the commission agreed that their agreement and the complaints would be made public if Feeder resigned before the commission rendered a decision.
The commission can remove a judge from office, the harshest punishment. A judge can also be censured or receive a warning, said Beth Bar, a commission spokeswoman.
Feeder, a lay judge, would not comment on his resignation when reached on his cell phone Wednesday. Instead, he referred to a press release he wrote and provided to the media.
In the press release, he wrote that the commission had "taken issue" with his conduct in some of the more than 24,000 cases he presided over as justice.
"Although I was not conscious at the time that my actions were improper, upon further review and reflection I believe that I did in fact err in certain respects," he wrote.
Feeder will resign as of 5 p.m. Friday. He steps down with three years left on a four-year term.
Acting village Justice Robert Buck will replace Feeder until the Hudson Falls Village Board appoints a replacement.
"We just found this out today ourselves," said village Mayor John Barton. "No decisions have been made, and the village board and myself will be exploring all options."
Feeder has been a judge for 11 years and also served as justice for the town of Kingsbury. He made headlines in 2004 when he had the motorist arrested, using his judge badge to identify himself. He also brought a gun to work, according to previous media reports.
In his statement, Feeder wrote that establishing the first drug treatment court in Washington, Warren and Saratoga counties is one of his proudest accomplishments.
"My goal was to make my community a better place," he wrote. "There are some that will say that I have accomplished my goal by my contributions as a judge and others who will say that I did so by stepping down."