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Source: Conflict between Judge Carter and Albany County D.A.'s office reason for ban

Jill Konopka
Updated: January 24, 2020 06:53 PM
Created: January 24, 2020 05:52 PM

One week and one day has passed since the Office of Court Administration has banned Albany County Court Judge William A. Carter from handling any matters brought by the Albany County District Attorney.

A source with knowledge of the situation tells NewsChannel 13 a conflict of interest has arisen between Judge Carter and the Albany District Attorney's Office and the move had nothing to do with New York's new criminal justice reforms. 

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The last case Judge Carter presided over involving the Albany District Attorney's Office was on January 15, 2020 involving the arraignment of second-degree murder suspect Paul Barbaritano.

The decision was made by the Office of Court Administration on January 16, 2020.

Judge Carter's office confirms he did preside over one case this week, where the Attorney General's Office was the prosecutor.

According to Lucian Chalfen with the Office of Court Administration, "Judge Carter is still handling matters but cannot handle any matters that are brought by the Albany County District Attorney. He will be assisting in other counties with criminal matters and will handle matters in Albany that do not involve the District Attorneys."

Questions were initially raised whether the move had anything to do with Judge Carter raising concerns with the prosecution last week at Barbaritano's hearing, for not having the grand jury notes in the hands of the defense at the time of arraignment. Judge Carter made it clear that was no longer acceptable under the state's new criminal justice reforms.

NewsChannel 13 caught up with the District Attorney of Albany County this week and asked whether the move was connected to the hearing involving Paul Barbaritano. Police in that case say 29-year-old Nicole Jennings was stabbed and strangled last summer in the capital city at the hands of Barbaritano. His Public Defender, Rebekah Sokol called it an "accident" and made it clear last week she wanted the defendant treated fairly and not "vilified" or made an example of the new reforms.

D.A. David Soares told NewsChannel 13 when asked about Judge Carter, "I think we're in an adversarial system. You're going to have defense attorney's, prosecutors, and judges. We all have differences of opinions at times. You know, thankfully there are other courts and other agencies that address those differences and so we'll just have to wait for that process to fulfill itself and be able to move forward."

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct can't confirm or deny they have any matter pending against any judge, unless and until the judge waives confidentiality or the commission issues a public discipline. 

According to decisions by the commission online, Judge Carter was publicly censured in 2006 for prompting a physical altercation with a courtroom defendant.

Judge Carter did not comment or respond to an email, telephone call, or visit to court on Friday.


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