To the editor:
A recent flyer being circulated by persons opposed to the dissolution of one justice position for the town of Jay contains misleading/inaccurate information.
In that flyer the author claims that one of the reasons for changing from two justices to one was "the fact that Judge Minogue has been spending several winter months in Florida." And ...
"Judge Minogue's decision to spend winters in Florida is disturbing."
On the face of those statements, the inferences are that I am derelict in my duties as town justice. The facts are as follows:
At the recent board meeting relating to this claim, one board member indicated that a townsperson had complained that Judge Minogue was not available (motive and time unclear). That was the only discussion relative to the issue and was not a stated reason for the decision to cut back to one justice, a fact that was made abundantly clear at the meeting. It is noteworthy that indeed I do enjoy getting away to the warmer climates in the winter. However, had the authors of said flyer done their due diligence and/or any semblance of a meaningful investigation prior to distributing this document, they would've found that I regularly return to the town of Jay to perform my court duties, at my expense.
All cases before me are current, and I regularly keep abreast of all issues via phone, text and/or Internet. There is no mandate that a town justice be present 24/7. I have regular contact with my co-judge and clerk relative to all issues, and he and I routinely cover for each other to accommodate any conflicts of judicial duties and personal activities.
Furthermore, prior to my spending time vacationing, I contacted the New York State Commission on Judicial Ethics and inquired into the appropriateness of my traveling back and forth to perform my duties. They affirmed my inquiry reinforcing the need to address all pending legal matters before me in a timely manner. That has been done, and to my knowledge there have been no issues cited by the office of the district attorney or any defendant's attorneys relative to timeliness. Also of note, I routinely assist my co-judge on his court nights and have done so for nearly four years. I do this in order to make his job a little easier, but primarily to further educate myself about the judicial system and learn from him.
The aforementioned flyer is a specious attempt to enrage or incite voters, and it is fraught with half-truths and inaccuracies in an attempt to promote their agenda. It is further noteworthy that I actually support the two-justice process and informed the town board of such. On that note, while I certainly understand the need to make fiscally sound decisions, I do not agree that this particular one best serves the taxpayer. The twisting of the truth to further an agenda is despicable. I did not assume the position of justice as a moneymaking enterprise but rather consider it a worthy civic duty. I resent this inference and feel that it misleads the voting public.
Robert J. Minogue