NY Judges Battling for Back Pay, Pension Benefits

January 11, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Several New York state judges say the Empire State owes its 1,300 jurists $780 million in back pay and pension benefits starting April 2005.

According to a news account in the New York Law Journal, a forensic accountant retained by the judges found that the jurists should have received an average of $210,000 to $215,000; with lost pension benefits, the judges lost about $130 million a year.

The damage calculation includes the raises the judges would have received in the six fiscal years that have passed since fiscal year 2005-06, when the Legislature refused to act on judicial pay increases, according to the Law Journal report.

The action is a follow-up to the February 2010 ruling by the state Court of Appeals where the Court found that the Legislature had violated the separation of powers doctrine under the state Constitution by continually linking judges’ raises with unrelated issues, such as raises for state legislators or ethics-in-government reforms. 

According to the Law Journal, lawmakers passed and the governor signed a measure to create a commission to make recommendations on judicial salaries, effective April 1, 2012.