Today Justice was served to someone who did a disservice to justice. U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe sentenced ex-New York State Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. Spargo to 27 months in prison for attempted extortion and bribery. A federal jury convicted Spargo on Aug. 27, 2009 for soliciting a $10,000 payment from a personal injury attorney with cases pending before him. Spargo figured the lawyer would be easy-pickings because he had recently settled a personal injury case for $3 million, thus earning a substantial fee. The trial evidence showed that when the personal injury attorney declined to pay the bribe, Spargo increased the pressure to pay.
It goes without saying that “Judge” Spargo’s behavior was despicable. Think about the implications of his actions. Imagine you have been injured in a car accident, a construction accident, or by medical malpractice, or you have suffered damages from legal malpractice. Your life is permanently and irreversibly altered. You have one chance, and only once chance, to right the wrong, to seek compensation, to hope for fair and impartial redress. Your day in Court finally arrives. But, unbeknownst to you, the judge who is to decide your case, or to instruct the jury about your case, has extorted, and accepted, $10,000 from the opposing side’s lawyer! Does that make you feel confident he will do you JUSTICE? Of course not. He is more likely to do “JUST US” with the opposing counsel as a payback for having his palms greased.
From our years of experience bringing personal injury and medical malpractice cases to courts in New York State, we at Michaels & Smolak can assure you that this kind of judicial behavior is exceedingly rare. We have never seen it in our many years of personal injury and medical malpractice litigation. We may disagree with our judiciary’s decisions from time to time, but we have confidence in the integrity of the system.
It is true that one bad apple does not spoil the whole bunch, at least not when you toss it out in time, as was done here. In the end, justice here was done.