Former judge sentenced to over a year behind bars, then allowed to walk free from court
JUL 28, 2022 | REPUBLISHED BY LINY : JUL 29, 2022
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A former State Supreme Court Judge was sentenced to over a year behind bars in connection to a bribery scheme, then allowed to walk free from court on Thursday.
John Michalek, a former State Supreme Court Judge, appeared before Judge Cerio in Erie County Court Thursday and was sentenced to 364 days and four months behind bars and a $5,000 fine in connection to a bribery scheme with former Erie County Democratic Chairman Steve Pigeon.
Michalek was handcuffed and taken into custody after sentencing. His attorney then met with Judge Cerio, who then took the bench again and released Michalek, ordering him to return to court on September 9 due to a stay of proceedings. His attorney dodged questions from 7 News as she and Michalek left court.
7 News spoke with a legal analyst who called the situation “highly unusual,” especially after the sentence was handed out.
In a bizarre twist of events, right after being taken away in handcuffs, Michalek’s attorney met with Judge Cerio. He took the bench again & released Michalek, ordering him to return to court Sep. 9 due to a stay of proceedings
— Michael Schwartz (@MSchwartzTV) July 28, 2022
Michalek’s co-defendant, Pigeon, was sentenced earlier Thursday in Erie County Court to one year behind bars and a $5,000 fine in connection to the bribery scheme involving Michalek. Pigeon’s attorney said he will be out in “8 months with good behavior.”
On Wednesday, Pigeon was sentenced in federal court to four months behind bars and one year of supervised release, for conspiring to arrange illegal donations to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2014 re-election campaign.
Pigeon also faces 25 years to life behind bars if convicted in a case in which he is accused of the rape of a child younger than 11 years old. “This is rape. This isn’t child molestation,” Erie County DA John Flynn said in December 2021.