Drunk Judge Sucker Punches Lawyer, Gets Charged

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on December 29, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A judge in New York City found himself on the other side of the bench this week, facing assault charges after he allegedly cold-cocked a Legal Aid attorney at a law firm party in October.

The judge, Robert Beltrani, was visibly drunk when he got into a verbal spat with Sam Roberts, a public defender, the New York Daily News reports. As Beltrani turned to walk away, the judge allegedly sucker punched him -- but not before yelling "Yeah, I'm the judge. I do justice and I f--ing kill people!"

A Punch, Then a Tumble

Beltrani's wild night began on October 20th, according to reports, as he celebrated the opening of a new law firm in New York's Chelsea neighborhood. Beltrani was a bit intoxicated, witnesses say, (the term of art, I believe, is "wasted") when he had words with Roberts, the public defender.

After yelling his "I do justice and I f--ing kill people" catchphrase, Beltrani clocked the lawyer as he turned to leave. Then he, well, fell on him.

From the New York Post:

Beltrani, who weighs nearly 300 pounds, drunkenly toppled over, knocking into Roberts and sending them both tumbling to the sidewalk, the complaint says.

The unhinged judge landed on top of Roberts, who lost consciousness when his head and body smashed into the pavement.

Beltrani took off and Roberts was rushed to the hospital, where he was treated for a separated shoulder and a black eye.

Beltrani and Roberts had first met that night. "He seemed somewhat belligerent and intoxicated," Roberts told the Post. "He was saying things like you could learn a lot from me, you better watch out, don't disrespect me."

Will This Rikers Island Judge End Up Behind Bars?

Beltrani works as an administrative judge for the New York State Board of Parole, overseeing parole cases on Rikers Island. He has been placed on leave following the incident.

Beltrani originally left the scene after the "fight," but received a desk ticket ordering him to appear in court this Tuesday. The judge faces charges of misdemeanor assault, attempted assault, and harassment. He was released without bail and an order of protection was issued for Roberts.

If convicted, Beltrani could face up to a year in jail.

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