Update Friday afternoon: Seth Peacock has not returned The Voice’s requests for comment.

Ithaca, N.Y. — ​City Judge Seth Peacock endorsed Howie Hawkins for governor during a speech in Ithaca last week.

​State rules on judicial conduct explicitly bar judges or judicial candidates from endorsing any other candidates for public office.

Peacock, with an endorsement speech that can be viewed on YouTube, appears to have violated the state rules on several counts.

​In the video, there’s no mistaking that Peacock is a sitting judge. At one point he holds out his wallet and shows what he calls his “fancy judge ID.”

​There’s also no mistaking that his presence at a rally for Hawkins is an endorsement. He is introduced in this way: “And now we have another endorsement, from Judge Seth Peacock.”

​In his own brief speech, Peacock says: “I’m proud and happy to endorse you because I recognize what you’re about matters.”

​And: “My life is an endorsement of Howie Hawkins.”

​And: “Let’s support Howie and make this happen.”

​Section 100.5 of the administrative rules of New York’s state court system is titled, “A judge or candidate for elective judicial office shall refrain from inappropriate political activity.”

​It describes “Prohibited political activity” as including, among others, the following:

​“(d) participating in any political campaign for any office or permitting his or her name to be used in connection with any activity of a political organization;
​“(e) publicly endorsing or publicly opposing (other than by running against) another candidate for public office;
​“(f) making speeches on behalf of a political organization or another candidate;
​“(g) attending political gatherings;”

​Peacock appears to violate all four of those prohibitions with his appearance on behalf of Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for governor.

​A spokesman in the Office of Court Administration office in New York said the administrative rules do apply to city courts. She said the staff there would look into the matter.

A call to Peacock has not been immediately returned. Peacock is running on the Working Families Party line against local attorney Rick Wallace, who beat Peacock in the Democratic primary in September. The election will be held Nov. 4.

​The Voice will update the story with any new developments.


Follow The Ithaca Voice on Facebook | Twitter

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.