Bribe-Taking Housing Court Judge Gets 2 1/2 to 7 1/2 Years

Housing Court Judge Arthur Scott, who was caught taking bribes and pleaded guilty to 11 charges, was sentenced last month to 2 1/2 to 7 1/2 years in jail. He will serve the term in protective custody, isolated from the general prison population.According to the New York Law Journal (May 23), Scott stated before he was sentenced that since his arrest in December 1994 he had rediscovered his Catholic faith and that it had helped him to come to terms with his crimes. He apparently did not say how his victims, including many tenants evicted by him for money, would come to terms with his crimes. He added that he wanted to become a “minister” when he gets out of jail.

The Journal quoted Scott as saying, “What is important to me is that I have found God and the understanding that I did wrong to my neighbor. I am dedicated to making amends for that.” He reportedly was holding a prayer book.

Scott acknowledged using drugs but attempted to discount their role in his downfall.

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau investigated Scott and charged him with taking at least $14,000 in bribes in 25 Housing Court cases in 1993 and 1994. Scott, however, has been on the bench for 13 years, and the DA’s charges do not cover the vast majority of those years. A anonymous tenant-attorney source who appeared before Scott in his early days on the bench remembered believing that the judge was on the take at that time.