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There is an uncertain future for the Alma Town Justice

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By Michael T. Baldwin

In February 2022, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct ruled that Town Justice David Stilson needed to be removed from office.

According to the Commission, in 2014 Judge Stilson did the following on his Facebook account:

• 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 stated that 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 Commission told the Wellsville SUN today that Stilson should be removed from office. The Alma Justice, who also serves as the Associate Justice in the Village of Andover, should also be removed. We were then referred to the Appellate Division. Listen to audio from the Appellate court spokesperson:

Justice Stilson first took office in Alma in 2001 and his term expires in 2025. He accepted the position of Associate Justice in the Village of Andover in 2019 and that position expires at the end of May 2022.

The Justice was given 30 days to appeal the decision. A spokesperson for the Appellate Division told The Wellsville Sun exclusively “that Stilson never filed an appeal.” The Higher Court dismissed his case on March 23, 2022 for “failure to file.” When we asked a local legal expert what it means, we were told “he’s done.”

Judge Stilson was served with a Formal Written Complaint dated May 10, 2021, containing two charges. He did not file any answer to those charges. By motion dated October 7, 2021, the Administrator moved for summary determination. Stilson did not submit a response. The motion was granted on October 28, 2021, determining that the factual allegations of the Complaint were sustained and that the judge’s misconduct was established. Counsel to the Commission filed a brief arguing for the judge’s removal and waived oral argument unless the judge was to appear. Stilson did not make a submission on the issue of sanction, respond to the administrator’s brief, or appear for oral argument.

Stilson was not willing to speak on the record but did indicate that after a state decision was made, a lengthy interview was possible. He indicated that he had planned to retire in previous years, but new information could be revealed in the future.

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