Local media reports have indicated that a Town Justice in Green Island, New York, has been arrested and charged for strangling his wife. Jeffrey P. Dorrance was charged with criminal obstruction of breathing after his wife went to the police station looking for help after the assault.
Via the Times Union:
According to a law enforcement official familiar with the case, Dorrance’s wife, Nancy L. Kipp, 41, went to the Green Island village police department to report she had been assaulted. Dorrance was at their residence at the time and was “impaired by alcohol” when he was arrested at 7 p.m., according to an arrest report. Kipp had bruising and scratches on her neck and appeared to have been roughed up, police said. Green Island police, citing a potential conflict in handling the case, referred the investigation to the Albany County Sheriff’s Department.
There are several surprising elements to this story.
First, Dorrance was released on his own recognizance after presumably trying to kill his wife.
Second, criminal obstruction of breathing, or strangling a woman is apparently only warrants a misdemeanor.
Third, his case has been adjourned until March 17th – but the misdemeanor charge actually allows him to remain in office during that time.
The Commission on Judicial Conduct explains that, had this been a felony arrest or one involving “moral turpitude,” Dorrance could have been suspended.
‘Moral turpitude’ is a legal concept referring to conduct “considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals.” Apparently, strangulation is not contrary to good morals.
What isn’t surprising about the media reports is that Dorrance’ party affiliation as judge has not been mentioned.