Frank LaBuda Bio/Wiki
From 1997 to 2019, Frank J. LaBuda served as a Sullivan County Court Judge and a Sullivan County Surrogate’s Court Judge. He was born on born 15 December 1949 in the USA.
In 2007, he was appointed to the Sullivan County Supreme Court in the 3rd Judicial District of New York as an acting justice.
He stepped down from the bench in 2019 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 for New York County Court Judges.
He is 71 years old.
He was appointed Chief Assistant District Attorney in Sullivan County, New York, in 1978 and served there until 1989. LaBuda was then elected Town Justice in the Sullivan County town of Mamakating, where he served for four years.
During the Gulf War, LaBuda was a Major in the 301st Logistical Support Group of the United States Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He also served in the Iraq War in 2003.
LaBuda has also served as President of the Wurtsboro Fire Company #1 and the Sullivan County Volunteer Firemen’s Association. Judge LaBuda will reach the obligatory retirement age for New York County Court Judges in December 2019 and will be forced to step down at the end of the year.
The appellate panel decided that Johnson’s sentence will be reduced by ten years as a result of Labuda’s comments.
A panel of Albany appeals judges chastised a former Sullivan County judge for making “utterly racist” statements to a Black defendant and repeatedly ordering court staff to tape his mouth shut.
The Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court’s Third Department said in a judgment on Thursday, July 1, 2021, that it was “deeply troubled” by Judge Frank LaBuda’s “draconian” acts during Angelo Johnson’s sentence on September 7, 2018.
The court also expressed his pity for the defendant, saying that his brain was “probably retarded in growth.”
In court, LaBuda said Johnson, who was 41 at the time, “I feel sorry for you. Because I know that if we were to look in your mind we would find that your brain, your frontal lobes, your decision-making processes are probably retarded in growth.”
LaBuda was accused of using profanity when addressing the defendant and providing his opinions on Johnson’s mental competence. According to a judgment issued by the Third Department on Thursday, “19th century polygenism, a racist ideology that focused on the claimed inferiority of Black people based upon now-debunked theories of reduced brain size,”
According to the ruling’s author, Appellate Justice Michael Lynch, “It is shocking that any court, in 2018, would refer to this Black defendant’s brain, frontal lobes, and retardation of growth in concluding that defendant’s brain was not developed,”
Christine Clark, Sharon Aarons, and John Colangelo, all of the Supreme Court, agreed. The statements made by LaBuda were “dehumanizing and offensive. To invoke such reasoning today is utterly racist and has no place in our system of justice,”
Johnson was found guilty of second-degree burglary at trial, and LaBuda sentenced him as a habitual criminal offender to 15 years to life in prison.
The four-judge appellate court lowered the sentence to five years in jail with five years of post-release supervision on Thursday.
What Did He Say?
Johnson asked if he may speak for himself at the sentencing and claimed the Sixth Amendment. The judge, however, turned down the request. According to the judgment, Johnson told the judge that he believed the judge was motivated by racism.
Lynch stated, “The exchange continued, prompting the court to direct court personnel, three times, to bind defendant’s mouth with masking tape,”
“That dire directive was, fortunately, not implemented and defense counsel completed his comments.”
When the judge gave Johnson the opportunity to speak, the defendant allegedly told LaBuda that the proceedings were racially prejudiced, according to the ruling. The court told the defendant at one point that “I heard you. But you know what? I am not going to follow your advice.”
Lynch went on to say that the Third Department was aware that Johnson was disruptive in court at times and even made filthy remarks. But that didn’t change the fact that they were still genuinely disturbed by LaBuda’s response.
Johnson was sentenced to 15 years in prison without the possibility of parole and was dubbed a “persistent offender” by Labuda, paving the path for a harsher term.