News10NBC In-Depth: A look at the state commission charged with investigating Monroe County DA

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has referred the case of Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley to the New York State Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct.

And this appears to be the first case it has ever received.

MORE: Watch body cam video of DA Sandra Doorley’s interaction with Webster Police

The idea of this commission was sued by every district attorney six years ago, including Doorley. The 2018 lawsuit said the commission was “riddled with fatal constitutional defects.”

After two years of litigation and changes, the commission was eventually formed in 2021. But it only got its administrator appointed in February, its rules and procedures were posted on April 10, and there isn’t a single case posted on its website.

The commission cannot punish a district attorney. It can only send findings and recommendations to the attorney grievance committee in Rochester.

The grievance committee is very similar. It can’t punish prosecutors, but sends recommendations to the appellate court located on East Avenue. The judges on the appellate court can censure, suspend, or disbar an attorney or send the case back to the committee.

On Monday, the commission chair, Michael Simons, told News10NBC it has “the authority ‘to review and investigate the conduct of prosecutors’ to determine whether any prosecutorial conduct violates state law or court rules.”

In some cases, the commission can report directly to the governor. But it’s so new, there’s no track record.

The commission and the grievance committee are not allowed to say whether a complaint has been filed with them.