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Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Victor I. Barron was arrested at his home at 6 a.m. Tuesday on charges of soliciting and accepting a bribe in excess of $10,000. In a criminal complaint filed Tuesday, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office accused Barron, who has been handling an early settlement part, of demanding the payment in return for signing a court order in a civil case. Barron pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday before Criminal Court Judge Martin G. Karopkin, and was released on his own recognizance. The prosecution did not ask for bail. The New York Court of Appeals voted to suspend him with pay pending the completion of the criminal case, according to Office of Court Administration spokesman David Bookstaver. If convicted, Barron could face a maximum of 15 years in prison on the charge of bribery in the second degree, said Brooklyn District Attorney spokesman Jerry Schmetterer. According to the complaint, a lawyer is the chief witness against the judge. The complaint states that in June Barron told the lawyer, who is not identified, that he would have to pay more than $10,000 to get an order signed. Slightly more than six months later, Barron contacted the lawyer and asked him to come to his chambers in the courthouse at 15 Willoughby St. When the two met Friday, Jan. 18, money changed hands, and Barron told the informant “in substance that the money was worth it to have the civil matter resolved,” the complaint charged. Barron’s lawyer, Barry Kamins, contacted prior to the arraignment, said he could not comment. Barron, 60, is the fourth New York City judge within recent memory to have been accused of accepting a bribe. Queens Justice William C. Brennan was convicted in 1985 and sentenced to five years in prison for accepting bribes to fix criminal cases. The following year, former Brooklyn Justice Jerome D. Cohen was indicted for requiring the deposit of $250,000 paid out in court cases for minors with a credit union in return for below interest rate loans that saved him at least $15,000. Cohen was acquitted in 1987, but removed from the bench in 1989 by the Judicial Conduct Commission on parallel charges. Also, former Manhattan Justice Hortense Gabel was acquitted in 1988 of charges that she reduced alimony payments for a companion of Bess Myerson, who was City Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, in exchange for a job for the judge’s daughter at Myerson’s agency. And former Justice Francis X. Smith, who was the administrative judge of the Supreme Court in Queens, was sentenced to a year in prison after being convicted in 1987 on perjury charges. ‘MASTER SETTLER’ Barron, who served for 11 years in the Civil Court before being elected to the New York Supreme Court in 1998, was regarded as “a master settler” by both sides of the bar, according to a plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyer who frequently appeared before him. Having served as a law secretary to Justice Irving S. Aronin for nine years before going onto the bench, Barron knew well many of the lawyers who appeared before them and “had their trust,” the lawyer added.

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