Allegany County judge faces removal from bench over ‘inappropriate’ Facebook posts

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The NYS Commission on Judicial Conduct says David Stilson should be removed from his positions as Alma Town Justice and Assoc. Justice of Andover Village Court.

ALBANY, N.Y. — An Allegany County Judge should be removed from the bench in two communities, according to a ruling by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

The Commission ruled David R. Stilson should be removed from office for posting sexist and otherwise sexually charged content on Facebook, as well as fundraising for the National Rifle Association (NRA). Stilson served as a justice in Alma Town Court, as well as an Associate Justice of Andover Village Court.

According to the Commission, the following were found on the Judge’s Facebook page in 2014:

  • He posted an image of a woman with the caption, “Boobies Are proof that men can focus on two things at once!”
  • He posted an image listing 10 reasons why “Country Girls are Hotter.” The list included a variety of reasons such as, “Their boobs are real” and “Sex in the woods is way better.” The judge then commented to the post, “Can[’]t argue this one bit. Very True.”
  • He posted a meme with an image of a woman tied to a bed by her wrists and ankles and another of a man fishing, with the caption, “SHE ASKED ME TO TIE HER UP AND DO ANYTHING I WANT.”
  • He posted that he was “Looking for a few more friends to attend the Friends of the NRA Banquet in Olean on March 15th” at “$180.00 each person.” 
  • He shared an article from “COPSSUPPORTGUNRIGHTS.COM” entitled “New York Troopers and Sheriffs refusing to Enforce SAFE Act – Cops Support Gun Rights,” with the caption “Come [to] the Friends of The NRA Banquet with me and learn more about this.”  

The Commission says Judge Stilson failed to “promote public confidence in the judiciary” when he made several posts that “objectified and denigrated women and included degrading, vulgar and disturbing images of women that are not appropriate for a judge to be posting publicly.” 

The Rules of Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit judges from personally taking part in the solicitation of funds or other fundraising activities. They are also prohibited from engaging in activities that “cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge.”

Judge Stilson did not take part in the proceeding against him. The Commission found that decision to exhibit “a disdain for the Commission’s important role.”

In its decision to remove him, the Commission found the “totality of [his] misconduct and his unwillingness to participate in Commission proceedings” made him “unfit for judicial office.” 

Stilson, who is not an attorney, has served as a Justice in Alma since 2001 and as an Associate Justice in Andover since 2019. He also served as a Justice in the Town of Willing from 2001-2013.

Judge Stilson received the Commission’s ruling on January 18. He has 30 days from that point to either accept the Commission’s determination or make a written request for a review of the determination by the Court of Appeals. If he does not request a review, he will be removed in accordance with the determination. 

If the matter does go for review, the Court of Appeals may accept the sanction, impose a different sanction, including admonition, censure or removal or impose no sanction.

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