Judge Catherine Bartlett has scheduled a decision Monday at the County Courthouse in New City on whether she’ll remain or recuse herself from a trial accusing former Ramapo Police Officer Andrew Dale and millionaire Monsey businessman Zalman Silber of sexual abuse.
Bartlett told prosecutors and defense lawyers earlier this month that she had been speaking to a woman who all of a sudden began talking about Silber’s divorce. They are accused of performing gynocological medical exams on a woman once married to Silber.
Bartlett told the lawyers she immediately cut the unnamed woman off, but the woman created a potential conflict in the judge’s estimation.
Bartlett’s decision has not been without controversy.
The District Attorney’s Office has maintained she recused herself and reversing that decision would create appellate issues. The office has asked the court administration to name a new judge.
Defense lawyers countered that Bartlett did her duty by informing both sides of the limited conversation and they want her to remain on the case.
Bartlett originally scheduled her decision for Thursday, but told the lawyers and prosecutors to come back to her courtroom on Monday morning.
Bartlett, an appointed Court of Claims judge from Orange County, has had a volatile relationship at times with prosecutors during her tenure in Rockland. She’s has questioned the quality of their tactics, ethics, and conduct during trials and before grand juries.
In the Dale-Silber case, Bartlett tossed two official misconduct charges against Dale, contending the grand jury charges were not appropriate and lacked evidence. That decision automatically dismissed 24 misdemeanor sexual abuse charges as beyond the statute of limitations.
Dale’s lawyer, David Goldstein, filed motions to dismiss eight remaining felony counts. Silber’s lawyer, William Aronwald, contends there is no case against Silber, who also faces separate criminal charges of performing medical exams on woman in Manhattan.
A day before the grand jury indictment, Ramapo Town Board members fired Dale based after a civil service hearing, though the hearing officer who heard the evidence recommended a year’s suspension without pay. Dale has filed a multiple million dollar lawsuit in federal court against the town for the firing.