Manhattan Judge Resigns After Pornography Found On Court Computer

Disgraced Manhattan judge James Gibbons, an ex-prosecutor, has resigned after court officials found a large amount of pornography on his work computer. Gibbons earlier had attracted controversy over fathering a son with a young Legal Aid lawyer.

Criminal charges are being explored, but I am unsure of the basis. The pornography is described as involving young women not child pornography. Defense counsel have often objected that, in such cases of work-computer caches of porn, there is a danger that large downloads of porn will include a couple of unlawful images. It then becomes a fight over the knowledge of the individual in downloading the material.

Gibbons, 47, was criticized for having a child a few weeks ago with Legal Aid lawyer Jeanne Emhoff, 31. He was on paternity leave when the computer was inspected. Gibbons issued a brief statement that “It has been a privilege to serve as a judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York. Please accept this letter as a statement of my resignation of that office effective today.”

Source: New York Daily News

12 thoughts on “Manhattan Judge Resigns After Pornography Found On Court Computer”

  1. Honestly Kay, you seem mad at all judges. Besides which, I have no frame of reference in which to understand how the porn may or may not have affected his job. But, neither do you, so comparing it to a pilot who’s diddling himself whilst navigating the big blue yonder isn’t neccisarily an apt comparison to make. Understand?

  2. If the judge were writing a novel on his court computer, or taking courses in physics on his court computer, there would also be questions about that — as to whether he was paying attention in court.

    Judges have the power to totally destroy people’s lives. It’s not just wrongful convictions either. Judge Nottingham dismissed my section 1983 case against the City of Steamboat Springs even though I made my prima facie case and he ordered me to pay $104 K to lawyers without any finding of fraud on my part or any Rule 11 c. 6 orders. The 104K order destroyed my credit and since we have a family business it has really burdened our business with all sorts of long term bad ramifications to us and our children. We had economic claims in our lawsuit but got nothing for our losses. Since my original claim had to do with malicious prosecution — I was criminally prosecuted without a written statement of probable cause because I complained that my neighbor, the city council president, converted the road and was building in violation of the zoning. Because Nottingham did not allow any facts to be entered, I couldn’t redeem my reputation and 10 years later am still being injured my newspaper articles posted on the Internet but the parties I sued that contain intentional republications of fraudulent statements and leave out key facts. For instance, the Steamboat Pilot is currently publishing that I will be set for a trial for harassment of the city council president’s wife and that I “abused” her. Do you consider a statement that she was violating the zoning and my constitutional rights as her neighbor to be abuse? The article doesn’t mention that there was never ever any statement of probable cause and that the charges were dismissed in 2001, only that I will be tried for a criminal offense. My new neighbors in my new state saw that article and wouldn’t associate with me and I lost my opportunity to get a job because of it. Because there was no hearing about permit fraud in Steamboat Springs CO, a man named David Engle burned to death in 2008. His residence didn’t have a permit and had only one exit so he couldn’t get out when the fire started. It was rented for 10 years and was officially a garage. The Routt County Assessor Mike Kerrigan said there are many illegal buildings in Steamboat Springs and enforcement of the regulations is lax. For saying that he apparently lost his job…..

    Look at anyone else with an important job that really affects people. If a pilot was looking at porno during the flight or masturbating in the bathroom people would be rightfully afraid that he would crash the plane. If a building inspector had porno on his laptop when he was inspecting buildings for safety, he might be more open to take a bribe or to be blackmailed to allow substandard construction.

    The question is not the judge’s employment rights it is how we can structure judicial operations so that everyone gets a fair and timely hearing on the merits. To me that requires an acknowledgment that judges can have all sorts of personal and mental problems and that their intellectual capabilities and personal integrity can go down over the years.

  3. Bingo,

    What is “disgraceful” about looking at porn? Is it arrousal you have problem with? Is it hygiene concerns? Is it anything? I would like very much to know what is so intolerable about his actions.

    I am going to assume you didn’t read my post, but you seemingly illustrate my point perfectly.

  4. Honestly, he’s a guy, doing what most guys do. I frankly don’t understand the issue. I kinda feel sorry for the guy. The only real hang up here is the fact that it’s pornography.

    Wouldn’t you be surprised if the judge had resigned because he had downloaded a bunch of motocross pictures on his computer because he was a fan? Of course you would, because no one would call for his resignation. It is simply dishonest to claim that your issue is that it was conducted on public property. You wouldn’t hold him to that standard for virtually any other private use of his office computer. So, why this one? Because, people have convinced themselves that shame needs accompany sexuality. That’s why.

    It’s the same stigma that surrounds the issue of sexual education in public schools. Frankly, I think it is unhealthy for our society. It encourages and sometimes flatly endorses ignorance of sexual reproduction, family planning, safe sex practices, intercourse alternatives, etc… It isn’t “abstinance only education,” it is shame based curriculum. Non-education?

    Here’s the thing. If the activity impeded his work or judgement, or if he caused harm to another because of his actions. I might… might, be convinced that this is anything but assininity. But, I will reserve judgement until all facts are in.

  5. I disagree with anyone who thinks the judge is a victim or that his privacy was violated. What you do on your persona computer is your own business, but your work computer is not prlivate property therefore it is fair game. The same for email accounts. I do not understand folks who use their work email account as if it is a personal account. You have no idea who is reading your emails. Because it is a work account, your employer has the right to read it. Keep your work and personal business separate. That way you won’t have to worry about anybody being in your business.

  6. American prudishness, demagoguery, and the dwindling expectations of any electronic privacy are creating a truly scary legal environment, and it’s only going to get worse.

    The judge possessing a paper copy of Playboy in his government-owned desk might have been considered in poor taste, but nothing more. And whoever was searching the judge’s desk would be considered to be even more “in the wrong” for invading his privacy.

    But when it comes to computers, it’s A-OK for the employers’ agents to go on fishing expeditions for contraband.

    And the US Federal “child pornography” laws, as written by our “I’m-tougher-on-crime-than-my-opponent” legislators, have devolved to the point that mere possession of a Japanese cartoon book has recently resulted in a “child pornography” conviction and prison time. An actual photo of an underage person — or even an *apparently* underage person — carries huge amounts of criminal jeopardy.

    2.5 million Americans in US prisons today — one out of every 100 American adults. 750,000 Americans on the “registered sex offender” list, many for “victimless” crimes like public urination and close-in-age consensual teenage sex. Increasingly broad and draconian laws that make almost every American a multiple felon, if the police and prosecutors care to dig deep enough. No other advanced democracy imposes such a harsh punishment regime on such a large fraction of its citizens. At what point does emigration become the prudent American’s choice?

  7. I presume he was just looking at different possibility of Work Release…or Work Performance Techniques….I am sure he did not go to the Samuel Kent School of Sexual Harassment, but for his death I am sure Teddy could have given him a few pointers……That’s just a heads up…..

    I should be shambled of myself….but I’m not…it was butter….

  8. You cannot believe how much time I have spent trying to understand these issues. I had a terrible experience w former judge Naughty Nottingham who also looked at porno on his work computer. And that was just a part of what he did.

    Nottingham left me in a very bad position so I try to improve my situation by blogging. And all my life I was the type who read the paper and wrote letters to the editor. I also read blog comments.

    Someone posted anonymously on one of the Denver blogs, I think it was the Denver Post, that she was a law student and as part of that program was researching reduction in risk adverseness as correlated to criminal activity. She suggested that Nottingham might have some sort of developing mental problems that makes him less risk adverse than he was when he was younger.

    Personally, I think they should get rid of all one-person judges and replace them w multi-disciplinary judicial teams. That would be good for the judges too, I think, because they would be under less pressure and disgruntled litigants would be less likely to focus on them.

  9. Is there some reason work computers in the courthouse do not have blocking software? And where are the IT people who should be monitoring such web surfing? These kinds of stories crop up all the time, including the recent one about some Federal people on the Gulf coast spent more time looking at porn than working.

    I understand the need to not have blocking software on law enforcement computers where officers are looking for criminal activity, but it seems to me that the primary function of a judicial work computer is looking up case law, time management and keeping up with the state and local government intranets. We had one local area judge who was caught recently flogging the monkey during trials–repeatedly. But ya can bet many of them are strict ‘lawnorder’ types who are “tough on crime.”

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