Justice John Starkey of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn came under sharp criticism in legal circles yesterday for speaking freely to a newspaper reporter about the forthcoming trial of D. Berkowitz and there were indications that he might be replaced as the trial judge.
The judge, obviously upset by the furor over an article in yesterday’s Post, said:
“I’m beginning to think of taking off. My wife is very much annoyed. She shuns publicity. And when the story broke over the last week she had to cancel her beauty parlor appointment.”
He is quoted as saying he would not accept a plea of guilty if young Mr. Berkowitz continues to say that his crimes had been committed at the instigation of demons.
Justice Starkey called the newspaper article “accurate but distorted.” He denied one statement attributed to him saying the defendant was virtually certain to spend most, if not all, of his life in a maximum-security mental institution.
Excerpt from Max Seigel Oct 29, 1977 New York Times