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Upstate New York judge resigns after he ‘keyed’ a town official’s car

Upstate New York judge resigns after he ‘keyed’ a town official’s car when he was denied medical coverage

  • Watson Town Court Justice Gregory Burker, from Central New York, resigned after pleading guilty to vandalizing town official’s car last fall 
  • Burker was upset the town has denied his request to provide health insurance 
  • Burker, who had been on the bench since 1999, agreed never to seek judicial office in the future  

A long-time Central New York judge has resigned after he admitted to ‘keyeing’ the car of a town official as payback for denying him medical coverage. 

Gregory Burker, 62, a justice of the Watson Town Court in Lewis County for more than two decades, stepped down from the bench on New Year’s Eve while under investigation by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct. 

According to a press release from the commission, Burker agreed never to seek or accept judicial office in the future. 

Watson Town Court Justice Gregory Burker, from Central New York, has resigned after pleading guilty to ‘keyeing’ a town official’s car (stock photo)

Burker was apparently angry that the town has denied his request to provide health insurance to him, so he took it out his rage on an unnamed town official’s vehicle by vandalizing it in October 2020. 

The veteran small-town judge was swiftly caught and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief in the fourth degree on October 29.

On the same day, the committee launched the investigation into Burker’s conduct, which wrapped up only after he agreed to leave his post. 

Burker, who had been on the bench since 1999, submitted his resignation on December 31

Burker, who had been on the bench since 1999, submitted his resignation on December 31

‘Engaging in vandalism is inimical to the role of a judge and undermines public confidence in the integrity of the courts,’ stated Commission Administrator Robert Tembeckjian. ‘It would be untenable to retain on the bench a judge who violates the very criminal laws he is sworn to administer upon others.’ 

Burker, who is not an attorney, had been a judge of the Watson Town Court since 1999. His current term would have expired on December 31, 2023. 

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