Even judges can be judged. And in this case, the verdict is "You're out!" State Supreme Court Justice Laura D. Blackburne was "fired" by the state Court of Appeals, regarding that 2004 incident where she let a robbery suspect evade arrest. The suspect was in Justice Blackburne's court for a different hearing, and a detective was waiting outside to question him; Blackburne knew the detective was waiting outside, but advised that the suspect be taken out a back entrance. Blackburne was suspended from the bench during the investigation, and the Commission on Judicial Conduct had recommended her removal. Blackburned appealed, but yesterday, the court ruled 5-2 that she "transcended the boundaries of acceptable judicial behavior" and the Commission's recommendation stands. Though the robbery charges against Derek Sterling were eventually dropped, the court found problems with Blackburne's action. From Newsday:

Though it was a single instance of misconduct, the high court said Blackburne acted out of "anger and pique" over a mistaken belief that [Detective] Devlin had lied to her about why he had come to court. Though she had chances to rectify her mistake on the spot, Blackburne pressed a court officer to allow Sterling to leave despite concerns by prosecutors it might be an obstruction of justice.

Blackburne "placed herself above the law she was sworn to administer," said the decision.

Nassua County State Supreme Justic Dana Winslow tells Newsday, "I do believe it [the decision] can have a chilling effect on the conduct of judges throughout the state." Blackburne has also had a prickly relationship with the police; in 2002, she dropped charges against an alleged cop-shooter, claiming he was denied a speedy trial. The Policeman's Benevolent Association is happy about the ruling, calling her a "noted cop hater."

You can read the ruling here.