Bradley Moses remains on the ballot in Madison County, though party leaders have rescinded their support for his candidacy.Source: Madison County
We usually use this space to appraise the qualifications of candidates for public office and to endorse the ones we think are best for the job. Today, we’re taking the extraordinary step of using it to urge voters in Madison County to withhold their votes from an unfit candidate whose name happens to be the only one on the ballot.
Bradley Moses, a candidate for Madison County judge, lost the credibility, public trust and community standing to pass judgment on criminal and civil defendants after his conduct on July 30.
On that day, Moses had to be revived from an apparent opioid drug overdose by Madison County Sheriff’s Deputies summoned to his lake house. A toxicology report released by the sheriff said Moses had fentanyl, marijuana and alcohol in his system.
For weeks, Moses denied through his brother that he had taken illegal drugs, citing a hospital lab report. With Election Day three weeks away, he now says he simply doesn’t remember because he drank too much alcohol that day.
Moses rejects assertions that he lied about the events of July 30. “I was going off the information I had at the time,” he told Syracuse.com’s Elizabeth Doran last week in his first public comments on the incident. “The sheriff’s office had given indications as to what they believe happened, and it didn’t match with my medical records.”
Illegal drug use should be disqualifying for a judge. Moses’s denials and implausible explanations in the intervening weeks are equally disqualifying.
Moses told Syracuse.com he accepts the damage he did to his reputation. That’s the least of it.
His reckless behavior also damaged the public’s faith in his ability to do the job. People expect a prosecutor to obey the law he is sworn to enforce. That expectation is even higher for a judge who decides whether other people broke the law and then issues punishment.
Because of Madison County’s size, the county judge also serves as surrogate court and family court judge, for a term of 10 years. That’s an extraordinary amount of power invested in one person for a very long time. That person’s character, judgment and conduct should be beyond reproach.
Moses told Syracuse.com, “Good people make mistakes. This event doesn’t define me.” As a candidate seeking a position of public trust, it’s not for him to decide. It’s up to Madison County voters.
Although his is the only name printed on the ballot, voters do have a choice. They can write in the name of Rhonda Youngs, a court attorney for Madison County Judge Patrick O’Sullivan and Cazenovia associate judge. There is a box on the last row of the ballot where voters can “write in” the name of another candidate.
In August, the Republican and Conservative parties asked Moses to step aside. When he didn’t, they withdrew their support for Moses and backed Youngs for county judge. To their credit, all three political parties in Madison County — Republicans, Conservatives and Democrats — have come together to endorse Youngs’ write-in campaign. “Some things are more important than party affiliation, and the ethics and integrity of our court system is one of them,” said Liz Moran, chair of Madison County Democrats.
We wholeheartedly agree.
We’re glad to see Moses is getting treatment for his substance abuse, and we wish him well in his recovery. He should focus on his health rather than running for judge.
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