A judge in St. Lawrence County, New York, has resigned after he allegedly ordered the eviction of a pair of tenants in a housing dispute without conducting a hearing or allowing them to be heard, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct said on Friday.
Donald Lustyik, who had been a justice of the Norfolk Town Court since 1986, resigned last month after he was contacted by the commission about the matter. He is not an attorney.
According to the commission’s decision, Lustyik declined to give two individuals the opportunity to be heard in a landlord-tenant matter, and instead ordered them to be evicted. He was scheduled to appear and give testimony to the commission on the matter in September, but instead tendered his resignation.
His retirement letter to Charles Pernice, the town supervisor, does not mention the commission’s allegations. Lustyik instead wrote that, at 78 years old, he wanted to retire from the bench.
“After many months of thought and the options I have been afforded recently, I will be resigning from my Elected Position of Norfolk Town Justice on October 31, 2018,” Lustyik wrote. “After over 30 good years on the bench and 78 years old, I would like to enjoy a little retirement time.”
His current term was scheduled to finish at the end of 2021, according to the decision. He was represented before the commission by Eric Gustafson, a name partner at Pease and Gustafson in St. Lawrence County. Gustafson wasn’t immediately available for comment on Friday.
It’s not the first time Lustyik has been under the scrutiny of the judicial conduct commission. He was publicly admonished in 2013 for getting in the middle of a dispute between a man and his stepdaughter. He witness and signed a statement by the stepdaughter that said she would not, in the future, accuse her stepfather of molesting her, which she had once in the past.
The commission said at the time that Lustyik had used his office to assist an acquaintance, the stepfather, without asking any questions, such as whether the stepdaughter’s claims should be investigated.
Lustyik agreed, as part of his resignation last month, not to seek judicial office again.