A controversial Brooklyn judge who presided over a consumer debt part where he was accused in media reports of playing favorites with defendants has been relieved of his post in the debt court but still presides over a foreclosure part in state Supreme Court.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Noach Dear, a political fixture in Brooklyn’s Borough Park, refused to comment on the accusations, saying he did not want to “give credence to such false accusations.”
Dear, who has previously served on the New York City Council and the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, completed a one-year stint in a lower court presiding over a consumer debt part that ended on Dec. 31.
According to a series of articles by the New York Post, while presiding over the part Dear was accused of favoring defendants in debt cases, particularly for defendants from the Orthodox Jewish community, and that creditors’ attorneys felt pressure from Dear to accept unfavorable settlement agreements.
In October, Assemblyman Michael Montesano, a Long Island Republican, called on the Commission on Judicial Conduct to investigate Dear. Montesano declined to comment for this article.
For his part, Dear said “I always follow the law” in an interview with the New York Law Journal. Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the Office of Court Administration, said the decision to relieve Dear of his duties in the debt part was based on the fact that his services were no longer needed there.
“He was very good at what he did,” Chalfen said.
Aside from the Post reports, Dear has also made headlines in the past several years for making eyebrow-raising rulings that challenged the New York City Police Department’s enforcement tactics for low-level violations.
In 2012, while Dear was a Criminal Court judge, he threw out a public citation for a man drinking beer from a cup on a sidewalk, saying that police should have to prove that the man’s beverage was indeed alcoholic, and that the New York City Police Department has a tendency to single out black and Hispanic persons for public drinking citations.
Also that year, Dear took the unusual step of throwing out a citation against a homeless man for sprawling out across multiple seats in a subway car and sleeping in the middle of the night. Dear characterized the citation as “overpolicing.”