A state judge who was heavily criticized for helping a robbery suspect avoid arrest in her courthouse has been charged by a state panel with violating judicial procedures, the head of New York's police union said Thursday.

Justice Laura Blackburne (search) was charged after an investigation by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, said Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

The chair of the commission, Lawrence Goldman (search), declined to comment but confirmed the commission was investigating a complaint filed by the union against Blackburne.

A telephone message left for Blackburne was not immediately returned.

Police and union officials demanded an investigation after the judge had a court officer escort a robbery suspect out a rear door and to an elevator normally reserved for judges while a detective was waiting for him on June 10.

Blackburne, 66, has said the detective didn't have a warrant and tried to set a trap by claiming he was there only to question the suspect, who disappeared but was caught about 12 hours later.

Judges convicted of misconduct face a range of punishment from admonishment or public reprimand to suspension or removal from the bench.