In a powerful declaration of judicial independence, an appellate panel in Albany, N.Y., reluctantly yet forcefully ordered an upstate town board to increase the salary of its town judge.

The Appellate Division, 3rd Department, took offense with a town board that set the salary of a newly elected judge at $500, or $7,000 less than the town’s other justice, and suggested that it would increase the pay if the novice’s performance was satisfactory.