Suspended Monroe judge’s re-election petitions rejected

Jul 26th, 2017 | By | Category: 2017 Election, Government Corruption, Harley Doles, Monroe, News, Orange County BOE, Orange County Politics, Times Herald Record

By Chris McKenna
Times Herald Record – MONROE

The Orange County Board of Elections has invalidated both candidate petitions filed by suspended Monroe Town Justice Lurlyn Winchester, who sought re-election in spite of facing federal felony charges.

The board, ruling on alleged petition flaws that a Monroe resident identified, voided Winchester’s Working Families Party petition on Friday and her Democratic Party petition on Monday. Winchester has until Friday to challenge the board’s decision in state Supreme Court.

Authorities arrested the 58-year-old attorney in June at her house in Rockland County, charging her with giving falsified documents to a mortgage lender and investigators to conceal that she doesn’t live in Monroe, as required by state law to serve there as judge. She was elected to a four-year term in 2013 and is paid $38,332 this year as one of two Monroe town justices.

The state Court of Appeals suspended her with pay on June 27. Her lawyer has told the court she won’t contest that decision.

In a letter to the court this month, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended Winchester remain off the bench until her own criminal case ends. Robert Tembeckjian, the commission’s administrator, wrote that public confidence in the courts would be undermined if Winchester were to “exercise the powers of judicial office in one court while contemporaneously defending against serious charges pending against her in another.”

Property records show Winchester and her husband bought a condo in Monroe in April 2015, 18 months after her election, although how much time she spent there is unclear. She told the Times Herald-Record this month that she’s “a resident of Monroe.”

Her term expires at the end of the year. The invalidation of her petitions probably squelches her longshot re-election bid. She can get on the ballot in November only if the courts overrule the Board of Elections, or if she manages to collect at least 541 valid voters’ signatures to file an independent petition by Aug. 22.

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