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Town justice resigns in commission probe

ALBANY — A town justice in northern New York has resigned and agreed never to be a judge again, ending an investigation by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct.

The commission says James E. Chase, a Turin Town Court justice in Lewis County, failed since 1999 to notify the state motor vehicles commissioner to order the suspension of drivers’ licenses for 1,008 defendants who didn’t come to court to answer traffic charges and for 320 who failed to pay $54,000 in fines and surcharges.

Officials say he also failed to regularly deposit court funds within 72 hours.

Both measures are required by law.

The town’s single justice since 1998, his term would have expired Dec. 31. Chase is not an attorney.

A call to Chase’s lawyer was not immediately returned Monday.