This page lists members of the New York State Legislature who have: (a) forfeited their seats due to felony convictions or pleas of guilty to felony charges; (b) been expelled from office by votes of their peers; or (c) been censured.
Under New York Public Officers Law Section 30(1)(e), a member of the State Legislature forfeits his seat upon "his conviction of a felony, or a crime involving a violation of his oath of office".
In People ex rel. McDonald v. Keeler, 99 N.Y. 463, 481 (1885), the New York Court of Appeals held that the New York Constitution, "like many state constitutions, does not explicitly enumerate the 'power to keep order or to punish members or others for disorderly conduct, or to expel a member'". Nevertheless, the Keeler Court added that "'[t]he necessity of the powers mentioned is apparent, and is conceded in all authorities'". Furthermore, Section Three of the New York Legislative Law (adopted in 1892) provides that each house of the state legislature "has the power to expel any of its members, after the report of a committee to inquire into the charges against him shall have been made". Expulsion has not been a common form of sanction used by the Legislature.
In addition to expulsion, other sanctions that the Legislature has used to discipline its own members include censure and removal of privileges (e.g. committee chairships).
The Report of the New York State Senate Select Committee to Investigate the Facts and Circumstances Surrounding the Conviction of Hiram Monserrate on October 15, 2009 contains a lengthy legal analysis of the disciplinary authority of the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly vis-à-vis their respective members.
In 1779, New York State Senator and militia Colonel John Williams was expelled from the Senate during the American Revolution. Williams was accused of filing false muster and payrolls for the militia regiment he commanded in order to profit personally, and of withholding pay from soldiers fined at courts martial that were not sanctioned by militia regulations. (Williams was later exonerated and promoted to Brigadier General. He also served subsequent terms in the Assembly and the Senate, and in the United States Congress.)
In 1892, Senators George Z. Erwin, Charles T. Saxton, and Edmund O'Connor were censured by the Senate after they had refused to vote on a specific bill before the legislative body. In 1920, five members of the Assembly were expelled because they were members of the Socialist Party; the Legislature ruled that they could not be "consistent and loyal" due to their allegiances.
In February 2010, Democratic Senator Hiram Monserrate became the first member of the Legislature to be expelled in over 80 years. Monserrate had been convicted of misdemeanor assault in 2009 in connection with acts of domestic violence. Monserrate contested the Senate's action in federal court, but the sanction was upheld.
|1779||John Williams||Senate||Expulsion||Williams was a member of the Senate from the Eastern District during the First Session; he was also a militia Colonel and regimental commander during the American Revolutionary War. He was expelled over accusations of payroll fraud with his regiment and withholding the salaries of his soldiers to pay fines assessed at improper courts-martial. He was later exonerated and promoted to Brigadier General. He also served subsequent terms in the Assembly, Senate and United States Congress.|
|1781||Ephraim Paine||Senate||Expulsion||Paine was elected in April 1779. He was expelled from the Senate on March 15, 1781, for "neglect of duty".|
|1861||Jay Gibbons||Assembly||Expulsion||Democrat||Gibbons was arrested on February 17, 1861, on charges of bribery. He was expelled from the Assembly for attempting to acquire bribes in order to vote for certain legislation.|
|1868||Elijah M. K. Glenn||Assembly||Censure||Republican||On April 9, Glenn accused fellow Assemblyman Alexander Frear of offering him a bribe of $500. On April 10, a select committee appointed to investigate concluded that "the evidence does not furnish any justification for the charges made by Mr. Glenn against Mr. Frear." Thereupon a resolution was passed to censure Glenn. On April 11, Glenn resigned his seat. In November, he was re-elected, and took his seat again in January 1869.|
|1892||George Z. Erwin||Senate||Censure||Republican||Senators Erwin, Saxton, and O'Connor were held in contempt for refusing to vote on a piece of legislation before the Senate. The three senators were formally censured by the Senate after a Senate Committee ruled the legislative body could censure its members if they caused "an affront to the dignity of the Senate".|
|Charles T. Saxton|
|1913||Stephen J. Stilwell||Senate||Expulsion||Democrat||Stilwell was accused of demanding a bribe and was cleared by a Senate vote of 28 to 21, but lost his seat upon conviction for bribery in the New York Supreme Court.|
|1920||August Claessens||Assembly||Expulsion||Socialist||Assemblymembers Claessens, DeWitt, Orr, Solomon, and Waldman were members of the Socialist Party, and were suspended at the beginning of the session by Speaker Thaddeus C. Sweet and the Republican majority. They were expelled on April 1 from the Assembly after a trial before the Assembly Committee on the Judiciary under the premise that they could not be "consistent and loyal" while members of the Socialist Party. All five were re-elected at a special election on September 16, and appeared to take their seats at the special session on September 20. The next day, Claessens, Solomon and Waldman were expelled again. DeWitt and Orr were seated, but resigned in protest against the re-expulsion of their comrades.|
|Samuel A. DeWitt|
|1991||Mel Miller||Assembly||Expulsion||Democrat||Speaker Miller lost his seat upon federal conviction for fraud and conspiracy. The conviction was later overturned on appeal.|
|2007||Mike Cole||Assembly||Censure||Republican||Assemblymember Cole was censured and removed from his position as the ranking member of the Assembly's Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. The letter of censure from Cole's fellow assembly members cited his violation of a policy which prohibits members of the legislative body from fraternization with interns. The Committee on Ethics and Guidance investigated the incident, and determined that Cole had "brought disfavor on the New York State Assembly and the members thereof".|
|2008||Diane Gordon||Assembly||Expulsion||Democrat||Forfeited Assembly seat due to felony conviction.|
|2010||Hiram Monserrate||Senate||Expulsion||Democrat||Monserrate was convicted of misdemeanor assault in 2009. The Senate voted to expel Monserrate in February 2010. On February 19, 2010, United States federal court Judge William H. Pauley III ruled against Monserrate's bid to have the expulsion blocked. On March 12, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied Monserrate's appeal of the District Court's decision.|
|2012||Vito Lopez||Assembly||Censure||Democrat||Lopez was censured by then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in 2012 for violations of the Assembly's sexual harassment and retaliation policy; he was also stripped of his seniority, banned from having interns, and given a reduced staffing allotment.|
|2014||Eric Stevenson||Assembly||Expulsion||Democrat||Forfeited Assembly seat due to felony conviction.|
|2014||William Boyland||Assembly||Expulsion||Democrat||Forfeited Assembly seat due to felony conviction.|
|2015||Thomas W. Libous||Senate||Expulsion||Republican||Forfeited Senate seat due to felony conviction. Following his death in 2016, his conviction was vacated.|
|2015||John Sampson||Senate||Expulsion||Democrat||Forfeited Senate seat due to felony conviction.|
|2015||Sheldon Silver||Assembly||Expulsion||Democrat||Speaker Silver forfeited his seat upon his initial federal conviction of honest services fraud. Silver's conviction was overturned by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on July 13, 2017. In May 2018, he was retried on the same charges and was convicted once again.|
|2015||Dean Skelos||Senate||Expulsion||Republican||Senator Skelos forfeited his seat upon his conviction for corruption. His son was convicted on related charges. The conviction was overturned on appeal in September 2017. In July 2018, Skelos was again convicted following a retrial.|
- First Red Scare
- List of members of the New York State Assembly
- List of New York State Senators
- List of United States senators expelled or censured
- Majority Leader of the New York State Senate
- Politics of New York (state)
- Socialist Party of America
- "Creation of vacancies". NY State Senate. September 21, 2019.
- People ex rel. McDonald v. Keeler, 99 N.Y. 463, 481 (1885). https://casetext.com/case/people-ex-rel-mcdonald-v-keeler
- "Report of the New York State Senate Select Committee to Investigate the Facts and Circumstances Surrounding the Conviction of Hiram Monserrate on October 15, 2009" (PDF). January 13, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
- "New York Consolidated Laws, Legislative Law - LEG § 3". Findlaw.
- Peters, Jeremy W. (January 13, 2010). "Monserrate Will Face Sanction Votes". New York Times. p. A23. Retrieved February 21, 2010.
- Schneiderman 2010, p. 46.
- "Senators "In Contempt" — Three Republican War Horses Called to the Bar — Erwin, O'Connor, and Saxton Refused to Vote For a Substitute Enumeration Bill — Talk About the County Jail". New York Times. January 15, 1892. p. 1. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
- Schneiderman 2010, p. 47.
- Paxson 2007, p. 616.
- "Judge Upholds Expulsion of Convicted NY Senator". The Washington Post. Associated Press. February 19, 2010.
- Neumeister, Larry (February 19, 2010). "Judge OKs Monserrate Expulsion". NBC New York. NBC Universal. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
- Schneiderman 2010, p. 44.
- The New York Civil List compiled by Franklin Benjamin Hough (Weed, Parsons and Co., 1858), page 111.
- Hutchins 1884, p. 277.
- Schneiderman 2010, p. 45.
- see Journal of the Assembly (91st Session) (1868), vol. II, pp. 919ff.
- Schneiderman 2010, p. 51.
- "Stilwell Guilty of Asking Bribe — Jurors Find a Verdict Against State Senator in 2 Hours and 13 Minutes — May Get 4 1/2 Years — Jurors Find a Verdict Against State Senator in 2 Hours and 13 Minutes — Convicted Lawmaker May Also Be Fined $5,000 — To Be Sentenced Wednesday — Applause in Courtroom — Nott Sums Up Brilliantly for State — "A Lesson to Senate," He Says — Legislators in Court". New York Times. May 25, 1913. p. 1. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
- "Democratic Filibusters Delay Vote on Expulsion of Socialists in Stormy Debate in Assembly — Majority for Expulsion — "Throw Them Out," Yells Assembly as One Man — Roosevelt in Opposition — Adler, Too, Maintains Charges Against Socialist Party Were Not Sustained — Chamber Often in Uproar — Minority Wins Battle Against Speaker to Save Governor from Special — Session Dilemma" (PDF). New York Times. April 1, 1920. p. 1. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
- "Assembly Again Expels Three Socialists; Decides to OUst THem by Vote of 90 to 45; De Witt and Orr Seated, But Resign" (PDF). New York Times. September 22, 1920. p. 1. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
- Lubasch, Arnold H. (December 14, 1991). "Miller Is Found Guilty of Fraud — Speaker Loses Seat in Assembly". New York Times. p. 27. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
- Roberts, Sam (June 25, 1993). "Ousted Speaker In Albany Wins Case on Appeal". New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- Confessore, Nicholas (May 4, 2007). "Assemblyman Is Censured for Fraternizing With Intern". New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2010.
- Newman, Andy (April 9, 2008). "Lawmaker Found Guilty of Corruption" – via NYTimes.com.
- Peters, Jeremy (February 19, 2010). "Judge Denies Monserrate's Bid to Stay in Senate". New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
- Chang, Ailsa (March 12, 2010). "Monserrate's Request to Reverse Expulsion is Rejected". WNYC. www.wnyc.org. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
- Lisberg, Adam (March 12, 2010). "Monserrate Expects A Win In Court — Update: Denied!". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on March 16, 2010. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
- "Monserrate, et al v. New York State Senate et al". March 13, 2010. (text of decision denying the appeal)
- "Letter from Assembly Speaker Silver Censuring Assemblyman Lopez". New York Times. August 24, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
- Weiser, Benjamin (January 13, 2014). "Assemblyman From the South Bronx Is Convicted on Bribery and Extortion Charges" – via NYTimes.com.
- Secret, Mosi (March 7, 2014). "Assemblyman Is Convicted in Second Corruption Trial". New York Times. p. A19. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
- Kaplan, Thomas (July 22, 2015). "Thomas Libous, New York State Senator, Is Convicted of Lying to F.B.I." – via NYTimes.com.
- Campbell, Jon (May 30, 2017). "Ex-Sen. Tom Libous' Conviction Vacated, $50K Fine Overturned". Lohud.
- Clifford, Stephanie (July 24, 2015). "John Sampson, New York State Senator, Is Guilty on Some Federal Charges" – via NYTimes.com.
- Weiser, Benjamin; Craig, Susanne (November 30, 2015). "Sheldon Silver, Ex-New York Assembly Speaker, Is Found Guilty on All Counts". New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
- Weiser, Benjamin (July 13, 2017). "Sheldon Silver's 2015 Corruption Conviction Is Overturned" – via NYTimes.com.
- Weiser, Benjamin (May 11, 2018). "Sheldon Silver Is Convicted in 2nd Corruption Trial" – via NYTimes.com.
- "Dean Skelos, Ex-New York Senate Leader, and His Son Are Convicted of Corruption". New York Times. December 12, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
- Weiser, Benjamin (September 26, 2017). "Dean Skelos's 2015 Corruption Conviction Is Overturned" – via NYTimes.com.
- Wang, Vivian (July 17, 2018). "Guilty, Again: Dean Skelos, Former Senate Leader, Is Convicted of Corruption in Retrial" – via NYTimes.com.
- Hammond, Jabez Delano; Erastus Root (1850). The History of Political Parties in the State of New York. Phinney & Co.
- Hutchins, Stephen C.; Edgar Albert Werner (1884). Civil List and Constitutional History of the Colony and State of New York. Weed, Parsons & Co.
- New York State Senate (1867). Journal of the Senate of the State of New York at their Ninetieth Session. C. Van Benthuysen & Sons, Printers.
- Paxson, Frederic L. (2007). Recent History Of The United States 1865-1929. Bente Press. ISBN 978-1-4067-4865-9.
- Schneiderman ET, Alesi JS, Flanagan JJ, Hassell-Thompson R, Lanza AJ, Savino DJ, Stavisky TA, Stewart-Cousins A, Young C (2010). Report of the New York State Senate Select Committee to Investigate the Facts and Circumstances Surrounding the Conviction of Hiram Monserrate on October 15, 2009. New York State Senate. pp. 33–52.
- Ward, Robert B. (2006). New York State Government. Rockefeller Institute Press. ISBN 1-930912-15-3.
- Zimmerman, Joseph Francis (2008). The Government and Politics of New York State. State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-7435-6.