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Judge cedes administrative duties after 1988 photo surfaces

July 2, 2021 GMT

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A state judge in western New York announced Friday he would step down from his administrative duties after a photograph taken at Halloween party in 1988 surfaced where he was dressed as a well-known person of color, an act he said he now knows “is considered to be racist.”

State Supreme Court Justice Craig Doran said he would continue to serve as an elected judge. And the 56-year-old justice did not say who he was dressed as 33 years ago, only that he was sorry and that the photo “has been circulated.”

“I did not comprehend at the time the hurtful nature of my actions,” Doran said in a prepared statement. “I know now that an act of this nature is considered to be racist. I can assure you that this event in 1988 in no way reflects my beliefs and principles.”

Doran received his degree from Albany Law School in 1989.

Office of Court Administration spokesman Lucian Chalfen said New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks were alerted to the photo earlier this week and that action was take to remove him from his position as administrative judge of the Seventh Judicial District.

The district covers eight counties and includes the city of Rochester.

Any further action against an elected state Supreme Court judge would have to come from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, Chalfen said.