A recently retired acting Manhattan Supreme Court justice and Court of Claims judge has agreed to never seek or accept state judicial office again after failing to perform his job for three years while struggling with “severe and pervasive” health problems.
The public stipulation by Daniel McCullough ends an investigation by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct. In October 2016, the commission began looking into an anonymous complaint that said McCullough, 65, had stopped performing his judicial duties in 2014 but remained on the bench, according to commission administrator Robert Tembeckjian. McCullough had been collecting a $193,000 annual salary.
McCullough voluntarily retired from his positions effective May 29, the commission said Monday. It served McCullough a formal complaint May 9 alleging in part that he “persistently failed to perform his judicial duties” since April 2014.
“While the commission has authority to retire a judge for disability, it would allow any seriously ill judge the opportunity to recover and return to work. By any reasonable standard, however, three years is too long for a judge to be out of work, with no end in sight, while others absorb his caseload,” Tembeckjian said. “We wish only the best for him and his family.”
McCullough, 65, served in his positions since 2010. His current term would have expired on May 29, 2019.
The formal complaint said McCullough has been confined to hospitals and rehabilitation centers since 2014 due to severe anemia, a degenerative spinal condition, some paralysis and other ailments.
Roger Adler, of Roger Bennet Adler, P.C. who represented McCullough, said his client’s health conditions “were so severe and pervasive that it drove him from one of the things he enjoyed the most. His resignation constituted a sad acknowledgement that he was unlikely to fully recover sufficient to perform his judicial duties. … He did the right thing.”