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Anne E. Adams admitted three misdemeanors.

 

02/22/09

UB Law School fires disgraced attorney

Adams removed after DWI plea

By Michael Beebe
BUFFALO NEWS STAFF REPORTER

Anne E. Adams, who pleaded guilty Friday to three misdemeanors in an attempt to escape drunken driving charges and brought down a sitting State Supreme Court justice with her, has lost her job overseeing the trial technique program at the University at Buffalo Law School.

Dean Makau Mutua issued a brief statement Saturday evening announcing her termination.

“This is obviously a very sad episode in the legal profession in Buffalo,” Mutua said. “We at the University at Buffalo Law School are very concerned about ethics in the legal profession. We will take whatever action is necessary to protect both the integrity of the Law School and the legal profession at large.

“We have removed Anne Adams from her duties at the law school effective immediately,” the dean said.

Adams, 46, a former prosecutor, pleaded guilty before Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio to three misdemeanors: drunken driving, offering a false instrument for filing and attempted tampering with physical evidence.

Resigning from the bench the same day was Joseph G. Makowski, 55, who had been a State Supreme Court justice for 10 years and had nearly four years left in his term. The job paid $136,700 a year.

Adam’s guilty pleas and Makowski’s resignation stem from her arrest on driving while intoxicated charges Sept. 2 after she had been at Shanghai Red’s restaurant on the Buffalo waterfront with Makowski. He said they were discussing her program at the law school.

Makowski did not mention why he resigned in his letter to Justice Sharon S. Townsend, administrative judge for the 8th Judicial District, but the district attorney who forced the resignation did not mince words.

“Because of his recantation and cooperation, I will not seek to brand Makowski a criminal,” District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said. “However, I am deeply troubled by Makowski’s original affidavit and initial conduct. Accordingly, Makowski, in lieu of criminal prosecution, will also be required to resign from the bench.”

Makowski’s testimony in an affidavit he submitted after Adams’ arrest was at odds with what witnesses told investigators from the district attorney’s office.

“Neither party to this pathetic episode committed violent crimes, nor have criminal records,” Sedita said. “By the same token, one of my most important duties as district attorney is to restore public confidence in the justice system. Accordingly, this type of misconduct, particularly on behalf of lawyers, judges and public officials, will not be tolerated and will not be overlooked by this office.”

Sedita said Adams attempted to cover up her crime, by talking her physician into changing the date of a blood test to show she was sober, because she wanted to be a judge.

“I would expect that, as a consequence of this plea, Ms. Adams may lose her license to practice law,” Sedita said.

Adams, who became a defense lawyer after she left the district attorney’s office, was paid about $70,000 a year to oversee the trial program at the law school.