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State panel urges removal of Whitehall judge over court conduct

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WHITEHALL — The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has determined that Whitehall Town and Village Court Justice Robert Putorti Jr. should be removed from office for allegedly pointing a gun at a defendant.

According to the commission, the gun incident occurred in late 2015 or early 2016.

"While presiding over a criminal matter, Judge Putorti brandished a semi-automatic handgun at a defendant who did not pose an imminent threat to the judge or anyone else. Subsequently, on several occasions, he described the incident to other judges, variously describing the defendant as a 'big Black man,' a 'large Black man' about 6 feet 9 inches tall and 'built like a football player,'" the documents state.

In its determination, the commission said it was “troubled by (Judge Putorti’s) repeated description of (the defendant’s) race,” noting also that he “exaggerated (the defendant’s) physical stature.”

The Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a news release late Thursday morning about its determination. 

Putorti was served the determination on Sept. 14 and now has 30 days to either accept the decision made by the commission or bring it to the state's chief judge of the Court of Appeals for reconsideration. 

Check back at for a full story.

Jana DeCamilla is a staff writer who covers Moreau, Queensbury, and Lake George. She can be reached at 518-742-3272 or

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