Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

State Supreme Court Justice censured

Panepinto spoke out on school controversy

By: Bennett Loudon//December 31, 2020

State Supreme Court Justice censured

Panepinto spoke out on school controversy

By: Bennett Loudon//December 31, 2020

A state Supreme Court Justice in the Eighth Judicial District has been censured by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Justice Catherine R. Panepinto publicly expressed her support for teachers at Buffalo City Honors School (CHS) in early 2018 while the educators were involved in pending litigation with the buffalo Board of Education in state court, according to the Commission.

Panepinto’s daughter attended CHS during the 2017-18 school year.

Panepinto “made repeated public comments about issues and individuals involved in the litigation, in person, by email, and on social media platforms,” according to the Commission.

She provided legal information and advice to parents of student at CHS. She signed advocacy letters and spoke about pending and impending cases with members of the Board of Education.

And she submitted an affidavit that was filed in state Supreme Court in Erie County.

Panepinto has been a justice in the Eighth Judicial District since 2011. Her current term ends on Dec. 31, 2024.

In January 2018 Panepinto joined a Facebook group for parents who supported the teachers in their litigation.

Panepinto advised parents to include the phrase “irreparable harm” in letters to the Board of Education and the Buffalo Teachers Federation. Irreparable harm was the legal standard used to decide whether the school board could transfer teachers to another school.

Panepinto publicly criticized the principal of the school, the plan to transfer teachers and claimed some employees were napping in the hallways of the school.

In February 2018, Panepinto talked to a group of more than 100 people at Buffalo City Hall criticizing the plan to transfer teachers and did not identify herself as a judge.

Panepinto “acknowledges that … the scope of her conduct exceeded ethical limitations placed upon her as a member of the judiciary,” according to the Commission’s determination.

Panepinto “has been cooperative with the Commission throughout its inquiry and regrets her failure to abide by the rules in this matter,” according to the Commission.

“She pledges to conduct herself in accordance with the rules for the remainder of her tenure as a judge,” the Commission found.

[email protected] / (585) 232-2035


Case Digests

See all Case Digests

Law News

See All Law News


How Is My Site?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...