EVANS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Former Evans Town Justice Timothy J. Cooper has agreed not to seek any future judicial post after being convicted of driving while impaired two years ago.
Cooper, 61, served as a justice in the Erie County town for nearly 30 years. In April of 2014, he drove drunk and crashed into an SUV while driving on the former Robert Moses Parkway in Lewiston.
The state Commission on Judicial Conduct Thursday released its decision and order in which Cooper agrees “that he will neither seek nor accept judicial office at any time in the future.”
Cooper resigned from the part-time town justice position on March 4, 2016.
The order does not affect Cooper’s full-time job as a Family Court magistrate in Niagara County.
A spokesman for the Office of Court Administration said Cooper was disciplined as a personnel matter but declined to specify what action was taken.
In the April 23, 2014 accident, Cooper’s car swerved into the oncoming lane and hit a SUV. The 74-year-old driver suffered a cut to the side of his head when the vehicle flipped on its side during the accident.
Cooper admitted to a state trooper that he had been drinking. The trooper said Cooper’s speech was slurred, his eyes were glassy and that he smelled of alcohol, according to the commission decision. Cooper took field sobriety tests which he failed and a breath screening test before being arrested. At the police station, Cooper refused to take a breathalyzer test.
He was convicted of driving while ability impaired, a violation. originally being charged with a higher level charge of driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor.
Cooper’s license was suspended for 90 days and he was recommended to a drunk driving-related program. Cooper was also sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge. The charge of refusing to take a breathalyzer was dismissed.
As News 4 Investigates reported, Cooper continued to sit on the bench in the Town of Evans while awaiting a disciplinary decision from the commission.
The decision says that Cooper “failed to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary by failing to maintain high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary would be preserved.”
This was the judge’s first drinking and driving-related offense. He is the first Erie County judge disciplined on a drunk driving-related charge. Six Western New York judges have been disciplined for drunk driving-related charges since 1978. One of them was from Niagara County.