#Judge #ColonieNY #Disbarred #RichardDiStefano #JimFranco #SpotlightNews
ALBANY – A former Colonie judge has been disbarred for misconduct related to his “neglect of a client’s matrimonial matter and his engagement in a sexual relationship with that domestic relations client.”
The decision, issued on Thursday, May 17, by the Appellate Division Third Department, said Richard DiStefano served as a Colonie judge from 2002 through 2005 when he resigned while under investigation by the Commission on Judicial Conduct for an unrelated matter.
The reason he is disbarred stems from a May, 2013 complaint and subsequent investigation by the Attorney Grievance Committee for the Third Department. He was an attorney since 1986.
In 2017, the Appellate Division suspended DiStefano “due to his failure to cooperate with that investigation and his failure to fully comply with a subpoena … directing him to, among other things, produce records … and give testimony under oath.”
The Appellate Division, the only body that can formally discipline lawyers, agreed with the AGC recommendation to disbar DiStefano. The AGC notified DiStefano of what it was planning to do and he ignored them, according to the decision.
“Accordingly, inasmuch as respondent has neither responded to, nor appeared for, further investigatory or disciplinary proceedings within six months from this Court’s October 2017 order of suspension, we find that, under the circumstances, he should be disbarred,” reads the decision.
Previously, he was under investigation by the Commission on Judicial Conduct for matters related to his private law practice. He had nine charges of profession misconduct filed against him including a conversion of client funds for personal use. Attorneys are required to keep those funds, retainers, in a separate account.