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Very bad judgment: Bronx judge Armando Montano acted stupidly and paid the price


New York judges should be appointed, not elected. Until they are, court officials must be free to use what limited tools they have to manage the jurists the political machines give them.

Consider the case of Armando Montano.

After graduating from the elite University of Pennsylvania Law School and being sworn into the New York bar in 1977, he served as a private attorney for decades before the Bronx Democratic machine ran him for Civil Court in 2013. He donned his robes in 2014, at 66, and did well enough, winning promotion by court administrators to acting state Supreme Court justice.

In 2018, the machine made him an elected justice. He was 70; the state Constitution requires judges to retire at 70 — with the sole exception that elected justices can get up up to three extensions for two years each. Montano applied for a 2019-2020 extension.

Problem: In July 2018, he refused to follow a lawful transfer by court officials to a domestic violence section. For breaking court rules, he was stripped of his duties and, while still being paid, brought up on charges. The extension vanished. His term ended on Dec. 31, 2018 and the charges were dropped as he was no longer a judge.

Montano claims the transfer was punishment for failing to hire a machine pal. Nonsense. He refused a reasonable reassignment and ended his career on a bitter note.