Clarkstown judge resigns amid state probe into several complaints
Scott Ugell, a veteran Clarkstown town justice who was under investigation by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, has resigned.
Ugell agreed to resign from office effective June 30, 2023, and never seek or accept judicial office at any time in the future.
The commission said they were investigating three complaints against Ugell:
- That he presided over a landlord-tenant case without disclosing that an attorney in the case had represented him in an unrelated matter.
- That he allegedly became a candidate for town supervisor without resigning as a judge.
- That he allegedly testified falsely in a lawsuit claiming he was ineligible to run for town supervisor.
“Public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the courts requires a judge to step aside in cases where there is a conflict or disclose the conflict so the parties may request a new judge,” said commission administrator Robert H. Tembeckjian in prepared remarks. “It also requires separating politics from the bench, meaning a judge must resign upon becoming a candidate for non-judicial office. And it should go without saying that, when called as a witness, a judge must always testify truthfully.”
Ugell’s attorney Deborah A. Scalise released a statement that said the judge “dedicated almost 32 years to public service, having been elected eight times and was the longest serving Town Justice in the history of Clarkstown.”
It also says that Ugell “fully cooperated” in the investigation.
“Judge Ugell agreed to conclude this investigation with the understanding that the stipulation is not an admission or concession of guilt, and, in fact, includes that there was no finding of wrongdoing. He also wished to avoid the expense and inconvenience of protracted litigation,” the statement says.
Ugell was first elected in 1991. At the time, he was Clarkstown’s youngest elected judge in modern history.