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Case ends after justice leaves office

Oppenheim official faced possible disciplinary action

September 28, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

OPPENHEIM - The state on Thursday formally dropped all disciplinary action against former Oppenheim Town Court Justice Robert L. Link, who had resigned during the summer.

A news release issued by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct on Thursday indicated it had "completed formal proceedings" against Link, who had been accused of mishandling cases.

Link agreed to vacate his office June 30 and "agreed not to seek or accept judicial office in the future," the news release said.

The release said that based on that action by Link, the state's proceedings were discontinued and the matter was closed Thursday.

Link had served as one of the justices of the Oppenheim Town Court since 2004. The town's other justice is Joanne Capek-Young.

Link, of Lottville Road, Dolgeville, said today he had "actually retired" as a town justice and was "going to retire two years ago."

He only had one other comment about the state's allegations against him: "I think the [state] ethics committee does some unethical things."

The release indicated Link was served with a formal written complaint dated April 17 alleging he engaged in misconduct in the handling of several cases between May 2009 and September 2010.

Allegations included:

Failing to advise a defendant of the right to counsel or right to a hearing.

Improperly eliciting admissions from the defendant.

Considering and/or relying on ex parte communications.

Finding the defendant guilty without a plea or trial and imposing sentence without giving the defendant an opportunity to contest charges.

Failing to disclose his personal involvement in a defendant's business operation in two cases and failing to disqualify himself.

Failing to mechanically record court proceedings in two cases.

Among the cases was one involving the owner of the Help A Hound dog rescue in Oppenheim. Veronica Thompson was investigated after the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stepped in to rescue between 80 and 90 dogs that were living at the facility.

Allegations included Link presiding over a case involving Thompson from May 2010 in which she was charged by the town of Oppenheim with having no license for a dog. Link failed to perform his judicial duties "impartially and diligently," documents stated.

Link allegedly failed to advise the defendant of the right to a counselor or hearing, elicited admissions from the defendant, found the defendant guilty without a plea or trial and imposed sentence without giving the defendant an opportunity to contest the charges.

A spokeswoman for the Fulton County Board of Elections said Thursday that Link had resigned June 6.

The spokeswoman said Peter Stone will be on the Republican ballot for the Nov. 6 election seeking the position. Also running as independents are Linda Montana and Mary Jean Wall.

Link's current term was to expire Dec. 31, 2014.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at johnstown@leaderherald.com.

 
 

 

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