The New York Post reported this week that an acting justice on New York’s Erie County Supreme Court has committed suicide.
The paper stated that John Michalski was discovered dead in his Amherst home on Tuesday after having apparently killed himself. It added that Michalski’s death came less than two weeks after state and federal authorities carried out a raid on his house.
The judge had longstanding ties to a convicted felon
Terrence Connors served as one of Michalski’s defense attorneys, and he was quoted as telling the Buffalo News that the judge’s death was “heartbreaking.”
“He was such a good guy,” Connors said of the former client, adding that Michalski’s legal problems were “manageable” and that his suicide “just didn’t have to happen.”
Anthony Lana also represented Michalski, and he said the raid took place on March 24 and resulted in the seizure of documents connected with a business run by Michalski’s wife.
The News stated that Michalski was questioned last February over his relationship with Peter Gerace Jr., a former client and the owner of a strip club in Cheektowaga, New York
According to the paper, Gerace is facing charges of drug and sex trafficking as well as bribing a federal agent, allegations that he denies.
Those charges came the same day that Michalski sustained a leg injury after being struck by a slow-moving train in what was believed to have been a suicide attempt.
Michalski was under investigation by State Commission on Judicial Conduct
The News noted that in 2006, Michalski wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny asking that he show leniency when sentencing Gerace for a felony wire fraud conviction.
It explained that Skretny ultimately sentenced Gerace to five months in federal prison rather than the eight to 12 months that sentencing guidelines call for.
In addition to being raided by law enforcement, the News said Michalski was also the subject of an investigation by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct concerning an alleged payment of $5,000 by Gerace to officiate a wedding. It added that state law prohibits judges from accepting more than $100 for wedding duties.