James Yates
James Yates (Rick Kopstein/NYLJ)

A former top aide to ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been appointed to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

James Yates, who was first appointed as a Court of Claims judge in 1992 by Gov. Mario Cuomo and elected to state Supreme Court in 1997, served as counsel to Silver from 1989 until 1992 and again from 2011 to 2015.

Yates remained as counselor to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie after Silver was ousted following an indictment, and subsequent conviction, on multiple public corruption charges. Yates, who was the Democratic-dominated assembly’s chief negotiator on the state budget and other legislative matters, retired in June 2015.

Heastie, a Democrat from the Bronx, also appointed Marvin Ray Raskin to the state’s ethics and lobbying commission. Raskin has served as president of the Bronx County Bar Association and chairman of the board. He served as an assistant district attorney in the Bronx from 1972 until 1977 prior to starting his own practice.

“Mr. Yates and Mr. Raskin’s extensive experience in law and public service make them outstanding selections to serve on the Joint Commission of Public Ethics to help ensure the highest level of integrity in our state government,” Heastie said in a statement. “They are both highly respected in their fields and committed to upholding the law and serving the State of New York.”

The commission consists of 14 members, three appointed by both the speaker of the Assembly and Senate Majority Leader. The minority leaders of both chambers receive one appointment each and the governor appoints six.