Senator Stec condemns promotion of judge who helped overturn SLC rape conviction

Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 2:55 PM EDT
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - New York state has a new chief judge, and it’s the same judge who wrote the majority opinion that overturned a St. Lawrence County rape conviction.

The state Senate this week voted 40-19 to confirm Judge Rowan Wilson to lead the state Court of Appeals.

The vote was along party lines with all Democrats voting to confirm Wilson and all Republicans opposing it.

North country Senator Dan Stec, a Republican who represents part of St. Lawrence County, was among those voting against Wilson.

“Last month, he cast the deciding vote and wrote the opinion overturning a rape conviction in St. Lawrence County. Instead of supporting crime victims and survivors of assault, Judge Wilson invented a new criminal standard and a convicted rapist was set free and allowed back into our community,” said Stec.

The case Stec is referring to is that of Andrew Regan.

A St. Lawrence County jury found him guilty in 2015 of raping a Norwood woman. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

In March, the New York Court of Appeals voted 4-to-2 to overturn Regan’s conviction.

Judge Wilson wrote the majority opinion, saying Regan’s constitutional right to a prompt prosecution was violated. Regan was set free and his criminal record was wiped clean.

St. Lawrence County District Attorney Gary Pasqua, who was not involved in Regan’s prosecution, called the decision “a travesty.”

“Because of judicial activism like this and legislative Democrat policies like bail reform, criminals are emboldened and it’s harder than ever for prosecutors to pursue justice for survivors and crime victims,” said Stec.

Earlier this year, Governor Kathy Hochul nominated appellate judge Hector LaSalle, who is described as a centrist, for the position. Senate Democrats voted against him.

Hochul then nominated Wilson, who’s described as a liberal.

“Judge Wilson’s sterling record of upholding justice and fairness makes him well-suited to lead the court at this critical time,” Hochul said in a news release.

Stec said Senate Democrats blocked LaSalle’s appointment “because he wouldn’t be a rubber stamp for their pro-crime agenda. Instead, they’ve rallied behind Judge Wilson. New Yorkers deserve an honest, impartial jurist that will act as a check on the runaway progressive agenda we’ve seen from Democrat leaders. Judge Wilson will not be that check and I do not support his confirmation as Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals.”

Wilson has served as an associate judge on the Court of Appeals for the past six years. He becomes the first Black chief judge.