NY State Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Rooney stepped down from his state Supreme Court position
Two high-ranking judges in Staten Island, New York stepped down from their important administrative posts on Wednesday after secret recordings of the pair were turned over to investigators.
State Supreme Court Justices Judith N. McMahon and Stephen J. Rooney resigned from their positions atop the county’s civil and criminal courts, said Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the state’s Office of Court Administration.
County clerk, Michael Pulizotto, allegedly made secret recordings of the pair spanning two years and turned over the tapes to the Inspector General Tuesday. The contents of the tapes have not been revealed. It is also not clear if the judges were recorded speaking together or separately.
“McMahon was not well liked. She has a habit of screaming at people. It’s her way or the highway,” a source said. “She especially became worse once her husband became DA.” McMahon is the wife of Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon.
Stepping down from her role as administrative judge on civil matters, Judge McMahon is expected to be transferred to Manhattan courts to oversee civil cases.
Judge Rooney was the administrative judge on criminal matters. He will continue to hear criminal cases on Staten Island, the source said.
“An interim administrative judge for both civil and criminal terms will be announced shortly, while a process is being set up to find a permanent replacement,” said Chalfen.
Justice Judith N. McMahon of the New York State Supreme Court Justices Judith N. McMahon has tendered her resignation from her administrative role.
In December 2011, Justice McMahon was named to replace Justice Philip G. Minardo as Staten Island’s administrative judge for both civil and criminal matters, effective Jan. 1, 2012. Minardo had reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.
However, in May 2015, Justice McMahon stopped overseeing criminal matters to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest while her husband ran for district attorney. Michael McMahon was elected district attorney in November of that year.
After her husband took office as DA in Jan 2016, Justice McMahon remained administrative judge for civil matters, while Justice Rooney was appointed to oversee criminal matters.
As an administrative judge, her duties include allocating resources, assigning judges and other court personnel and setting the tone for the borough’s legal system.