NEW YORK (AP) – An appeals court has thrown out a robbery conviction because a New York judge called a defense lawyer  “a clown” and “silly” in front of the jury.

The appeals panel ruled Tuesday that acting Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary’s comments deprived the defendant of a fair trial.

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The New York Law Journal said Neary did not return calls seeking comment. Court system spokesman David Bookstaver told the journal that the courts do not comment on appellate division decisions.

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A new trial will be scheduled in the Bronx case.

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