A local New York judge being investigated for allegedly posting offensive comments aimed at Muslims and gays on Facebook resigned before having to testify about the posts.
“Public confidence in the integrity of the courts requires judges to avoid even the
appearance of bias,” said Robert Tembeckjian, administrator for the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, in a June 16 statement.
“Social media posts that exhibit anti-LGBTQ, anti-Muslim, pro-police or other biases are abhorrent and inimical to the role of a judge,” Tembeckjian said in calling Kenneth Knutsen’s departure “warranted.”
Knusten’s Facebook posts allegedly conveyed anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim bias, and contained partisan political comment as well as pro-law enforcement and anti-criminal defendants views, the commission’s news release said. The posts aren’t visible anymore.
Knutsen, a non-lawyer, has been justice of the Schoharie Town Court and associate justice of the Schoharie Village Court since 2002, according to the commission.
New York doesn’t require town and village justices to have law degrees. It’s one of several states including Montana and Texas to allow non-lawyer judges to preside over certain cases.
His resignation is effective July 1, and Knutsen agreed to never again seek judicial office in a signed stipulation.
Knutsen’s attorney didn’t immediately return a request for comment.