Jung plans to appeal removal decision

Fulton County Family Court Judge David F. Jung will appeal a ruling that he should be removed from o

Fulton County Family Court Judge David F. Jung will appeal a ruling that he should be removed from office for violating the rights of five individuals he sent to jail in 2005.

Jung’s lawyer, Vincent Capasso Jr. of Schenectady, said Wednesday the decision by the Commission on Judicial Conduct will be appealed to the Court of Appeals.

Capasso said while the appeal is pending he expects Jung to continue serving on the bench. On Tuesday when the decision was announced, a commission official said the Court of Appeals may not be able to issue its decision until late spring. Capasso said the appeals court may not act that quickly.

Capasso responded to the decision Wednesday because he was unavailable the day before.

“Judge Jung has been a competent, caring and conscientious jurist for nearly two decades,” he said. He said he and Jung are “quite disappointed” with the commission’s decision and emphasized that Jung has always acted “within the color, letter and authority of the law.”

Capasso noted that the commission did not accuse Jung of benefiting personally from any of his decisions in the five cases.

The commission ruling was sharply critical of Jung’s decisions to send parties to jail for contempt — either in absentia or without legal representation, or both.

“In considering the appropriate sanction,” the commission decision said, “we note that as a consequence of [Jung’s] disregard of fundamental rights, five litigants were sentenced to significant terms of incarceration, and the record indicates that at least three of those litigants served several months in jail on the unlawful sentence he imposed.”

The panel noted Jung’s “continued insistence that his actions were consistent with law and his insensitivity to the overriding importance of protecting the rights of litigants … as shown by his record, strongly suggest that if he is allowed to continue on the bench we may expect more of the same.”

To leave Jung in office, the decision said, “would continue to place the rights of litigants in serious jeopardy.”

Jung’s troubles began in 2005 when lawyers representing four of the individuals sent to jail filed appeals in state Supreme Court. Judge Richard T. Aulisi released the first two people after finding that Jung’s actions violated their constitutional rights.

Shortly thereafter, Judge Joseph M. Sise released two other people on the same grounds.

Jung appealed Aulisi’s decisions to the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court and lost. The Court of Appeals refused to hear his case.

Categories: Schenectady County

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