Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Resigns Amid Porn Scandal - Strategist
Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Resigns Amid Porn Scandal

Judge James D. Gibbons, a popular Manhattan criminal court judge, has resigned from his judicial post amid a porn scandal. The 47 year-old judge sent in his letter of resignation after court officials discovered a large amount pornography on his work computer. He was off on paternity leave during the discovery. Gibbons recently fathered a child with Legal Aid lawyer Jeanne Emhoff, 31, in what has been described by the press as an "ethics-skirting romance."

Porn is popular these days. With the SEC porn scandal and others, the lesson is simple -- work computers and time are for work-related activities. And no, Gibbons was not working on some type of porn case. Downloading inappropriate content on a work computer is not a crime (unless the porn involves underage girls), but it is a sign of professional irresponsibility, especially for a judge. The porn was discovered during a routine computer monitoring check that red-flagged Gibbons computer terminal.

The New York Daily News quotes one investigator, "There was a lot of porn on his computer - all young women. Lots of crotch and clevage shots." Public and private employers are allowed to monitor work computers. Why? Because they own them and they are paying their employees to use them for the company's benefit. This is especially true in the public sector. So the bottom line is that with company time, an employee should be doing company work.

The Harvard Law School grad was described as one of the smarter judges in Manhattan that could rattle off legal decisions with ease. James Gibbons has had very little to say about his reasons for leaving. His three sentence letter read: "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." The resignation was accepted and investigators are now looking into whether there was any illegal porn downloads on his computer.

Related Resources: