Watson town justice steps down after ‘keying’ town official’s vehicle

Watson town justice steps down after ‘keying’ town official’s vehicle

TOWN OF WATSON, N.Y. (WWNY) - A Watson Town Court justice has resigned after admitting to vandalizing a town official’s vehicle.

Judge Gregory Burker was accused of ‘keying’ the unnamed official’s vehicle while it was parked in a parking lot.

According to the commission, Burker did this “apparently in reaction to the town’s denial of his request to provide health insurance.”

On October 29 of last year, the commission authorized an investigation into Burker. That same day, Burker pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of fourth-degree criminal mischief.

Burker, who had been a town justice since 1999, left the office on December 31, exactly 3 years before his term was set to expire.

The commission said it ended its investigation after Burker agreed to never seek or accept any judicial office in the future.

“Engaging in vandalism is inimical to the role of a judge and undermines public confidence in the integrity of the courts. It would be untenable to retain on the bench a judge who violates the very criminal laws he is sworn to administer upon others,” said Commission Administrator Robert Tembeckjian in a statement.

7 News reached out to Burker by telephone, confident the phone number was correct. The man who answered hung up once we identified ourselves.

Town Supervisor Gerald Crowell said another justice has been appointed to fill the vacancy left by Burker.

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