Judge Robert Restaino "snapped" and "engaged in what can only be described as two hours of inexplicable madness" during the 2005 session, Raoul Felder, chairman of the New York state Commission on Judicial Conduct, wrote in the decision to remove the judge today.
Restaino, who became a judge in 2002, was hearing domestic violence cases in Niagara Falls, New York when a phone rang.
"Everyone is going to jail," the judge said. "Every single person is gong to jail in this courtroom unless I get that instrument now. If anybody believes I'm kidding, ask some of the folks that have been here for a while. You are all going."
When no one came forward, the judge ordered the group into custody and they were taken by police to the city jail, where they were searched and packed into crowded cells.
Fourteen people who could not post bail were shackled and bused to the county Jail, a 30-minute drive away.
Later in the afternoon, after being told reporters were calling, the judge ordered the defendants released.
The judge told the state panel he was under stress in his personal life.