A New York judge who fumed that she had a courthouse to run when calling a double-parked public school teacher a “stupid b—” on April Fools’ Day 2022 has earned herself an admonishment, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct has determined.
The Commission published the findings on Aug. 28 and said that Kings County-based New York City Civil Court Judge Jill Epstein, an elected Democrat, admittedly engaged in misconduct. The recommendation of admonishment as the only sanction was due to Epstein’s acceptance of responsibility, the Commission said.
“A judge must uphold the integrity and dignity of judicial office at all times, on or off the bench, and avoid asserting the judicial title in personal situations, such as when frustrated by a traffic jam,” Commission Administrator Robert H. Tembeckjian said in a statement on the case. “Here, Judge Epstein forthrightly accepted responsibility and made amends, allowing for the mildest public discipline available.”
The official recounting of the April Fools’ Day incident said that the jurist was on her way to work when she “became stuck behind a double-parked car outside of a school,” namely P.S. 261 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.
“[Epstein] entered the school, identified herself as a judge to the school safety officer, said she had to get to work at the courthouse and asked about the vehicle,” according to the Commission’s telling of what took place. “When the teacher whose car had been double-parked came outside to move the car, Judge Epstein became angry, called her a ‘stupid bitch,’ said she too had a parking placard but could not use it double-park, and added she had a courthouse to run.”
The Commission noted that Epstein was “cooperative and contrite” throughout the process, that she “regrets her misconduct” and acknowledged her “vulgarity and references to her judicial status undermined public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary and violated the Rules.”
Epstein did send a written apology to the teacher she called a “stupid b—”, the Commission said.
The panel found Epstein “improperly asserted her judicial status when speaking with the school safety officer and created the appearance that she expected special treatment and deference due to her judicial position.”
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Although Epstein was “subject to administrative action by her supervisors” (i.e., a demotion from a supervisory role ), her term as a judge is set to expire at the end of 2028.
The judge reportedly said in a statement that she “has taken affirmative steps to better [herself]” after inappropriately lashing out in a “moment of human frailty while off the bench.”
Epstein previously made headlines in 2022 when a fellow member of the Democratic Party exposed a cover letter riddled with basic grammar and spelling mistakes.
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