North Salem Judge admonished by state commission

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ALBANY – North Salem Town Justice John Aronian, an attorney, should be admonished for actions he took in 2020, according to The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.  The judge was accused of repeatedly identifying himself as a judge in support of a neighboring couple who were applying for pistol permits.

In May 2020, Judge Aronian completed two Character Reference Letters on behalf of his court clerk and her husband, who were his neighbors and were applying for unrestricted pistol licenses. Although he is a practicing attorney as well as a part-time justice, he identified his occupation as “Judge” on each letter.

After his court clerk’s application was denied by the Westchester County Court, Judge Aronian personally called the court to inquire about the appeals process. He then wrote a letter to the judge handling the matter, on court stationery identifying himself as a town justice.

The appeal was denied.

In admonishing Judge Aronian, the Commission noted that when the judge “invoked his judicial status and used his judicial stationery to write to the County Court judge to advocate for reconsideration of the denial…[Judge Aronian] created the improper appearance that he expected special treatment and deference because
of his status as a judge.”

Commission Administrator Robert Tembeckjian said “Judicial office is a public trust, and a judge must avoid using the prestige of the bench to advance a private interest. Such assertions of judicial influence undermine public confidence in the courts and the administration of justice.”

Judge Aronian has been a Justice of the North Salem Town Court since 2016. His current term expires on December 31, 2023.