Town justice should be removed for sexist Facebook posts, NRA fundraising, commission says
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A town justice should be removed from office for Facebook posts that “objectified and denigrated women,” according to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
The commission recommended removal for Judge David R. Stilson, who served in Allegany County, New York, as a justice of the Alma Town Court and as an associate justice of the Andover Village Court, according to a Feb. 2 press release.
Also warranting removal were Facebook posts that solicited funds for the National Rifle Association, according to the commission’s Jan. 7 determination. The posts could be viewed by the general public.
The commission said the posts “objectified and denigrated women and included degrading, vulgar and disturbing images of women that are not appropriate for a judge to be posting publicly.”
One member of the commission said in a partial dissent that he didn’t think that the posts about women violated ethics rules.
Stilson, who is not a lawyer, did not respond to the commission’s proceeding against him. He will be removed from office unless he requests review by the New York State Court of Appeals.
The offending Facebook posts, all from 2014, included:
• An image of a woman with the caption, “Boobies are proof that men can focus on two things at once!”
• An image of a woman tied to a bed and another image of a man fishing with the caption, “She asked me to tie her up and do anything I want!”
• An image listing 10 reasons why “country girls are hotter.”
• A message that said Stilson was looking for a few more friends to attend a Friends of the NRA banquet with him, at a cost of $180 per person.
• An article about police supporting gun rights, along with a message to come to the NRA banquet with him to learn more.
The commission said the posts about women violated rules requiring judges to promote confidence in the judiciary and that bar outside activities that detract from the dignity of judicial office.
The NRA posts violated rules banning judges from participating in fundraising activities, the commission said. The post supporting law enforcement also violated a ban on activities that cast doubt on a judge’s ability to rule impartially.
The commission said Stilson should be removed given the totality of his misconduct and his unwillingness to participate in commission proceedings.
Stilson has been a town judge for more than two decades, according to Syracuse.com. He runs a forestry and excavation business in Alma, New York, according to his still-active Facebook page.