Gerald Phillip “Gerry” Garson (born August 3, 1932) is a former New York Supreme Court Justice who heard matrimonial divorce and child custody cases in Brooklyn. He was convicted in 2007 of accepting bribes to manipulate the outcomes of divorce proceedings. Garson was imprisoned from June 2007 until December 2009.
In the bribery scheme, a “fixer” told people divorcing in Brooklyn that for a price he could steer their case to a sympathetic judge. After the fixer received a payment, he would refer the person to a lawyer contact of his, who had given Garson drinks, meals, cigars, and cash— accepting (and receiving) preferential treatment in return. The fixer and the lawyer would then bribe court employees to override the court’s computer system, which was programmed to ensure that cases were assigned to judges randomly. Instead, they would have the case assigned to Garson. Garson, in turn, would then privately coach the lawyer. He would tell him questions the lawyer should ask of witnesses in the case before Garson, and arguments that the lawyer should make to Garson in court. Garson would then rule in favor of the lawyer.