On Tuesday, New Yorkers will head to the polls to cast ballots for New York City’s next mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough presidents and City Council members. Some voters will also be asked to choose from a slate of judicial nominees. Below is an overview of those on the ballot Nov. 2.
The offices, according to NYC Votes:
- State Supreme Court justices oversee large felony and civil cases within their districts, including divorce, separation, annulment proceedings, civil matters exceeding $25,000 as well as criminal prosecutions of felonies. They serve 14-year terms.
- County and District Civil Court Judges are elected to 10-year terms and hear cases involving civil matters up to $25,000, landlord and tenant matters and cases involving maintenance of housing standards, and the criminal prosecution of misdemeanors.
- Surrogate Court judges decide cases involving wills and estates, as well as adoptions and guardianship matters. Their terms are 14 years.
What does “Approved” or “Not Approved” Mean?
Every election year, the New York City Bar Association’s* Committee on the Judiciary evaluates judicial candidates. The association says the designation “approved” means a candidate has “affirmatively demonstrated qualifications necessary for the performance of the duties of the position for which they are being considered.”
Justice of the Supreme Court, 1st Judicial District (boroughwide)
The Candidates: Vote for 2
- Margaret A. Pui Yee Chan (Democrat, NYC Bar Approved): Chan has been an acting justice in the civil term of New York County’s Supreme Court since 2012, according to her online bio on the state courts’ website. She’d previously served as a NYC Civil Court judge in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and teaches law and legal writing as an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law, according to the university’s website. She’s a graduate of Brooklyn College and Touro Law School.
- John Joseph Kelley (Democrat, NYC Bar Approved): Kelly was first appointed as a justice to New York County’s Supreme Court in 2018, following earlier stints as a judge in Bronx Family Court and in county civil courts in Brooklyn and Manhattan, according to his online bio. He is a graduate of George Mason University School of Law. Kelley presided over a lawsuit filed by community groups looking to block construction of a new jail in Chinatown, ruling in 2020 on the side of the opponents who argued that the city failed to adequately review the project’s environmental impact, according to the Tribeca Trib. Kelley’s ruling in that case was later overturned by the State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, the Trib reported in April, allowing the jail plan to move forward.
Judge of the Civil Court, New York County (boroughwide)
Candidates: Vote for 2
- Jeffrey S. Zellan (Democrat, NYC Bar Approved): Zellan currently works as a law clerk for State Supreme Court Judge James E. d’Auguste. He’d previously served as counsel for Quality Building Services (QBS) and the state’s Department of Financial Services, according to his LinkedIn profile. He is a public member of Manhattan Community Board 6’s housing and homlessness committee. In a February interview with the Village Independent Democrats, Zellan described himself as progressive, saying he was inspired to pursue law based on his own family’s experiences in housing court when he was a child, and his parents were facing eviction. “The judge helped us stay in our home and avoid a life-changing catastrophe,” he told the group. “This judge showed me that resolving cases with compassion and creativity, rather than robotic application of the law, can have a positive influence on people’s lives.”
- Kim M. Parker (Democrat, Not Approved by NYC Bar): Parker has been a practicing attorney for nearly 21 years, and operates her own law office in Harlem, according to a personal statement published earlier this year. Parker has also served as an administrative law judge with the city’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) since 2017. Parker is a member of the NAACP Mid-Manhattan Branch, where she chairs the criminal justice committee and has advocated for police reform measures. “My purpose has always been and will always be to help other people change their lives for the better,” Parker said in an interview with Village Independent Democrats.
Judge of the Civil Court, 2nd Municipal Court District (East Village and Lower East Side)
Candidates: Vote for 2
- Betty Lugo (Democrat, Not Approved by NYC Bar): Lugo has been an attorney for 35 years, co-founding Pacheco & Lugo, PLLC in 1992, what she describes as the first law firm in the state owned by a Hispanic woman, according to her campaign and LinkedIn pages. A former Nassau County prosecutor, Lugo ran in the crowded, high-profile race for Queens District Attorney in 2019, though lost out to Melinda Katz. Lugo changed her party affiliation to Democrat in 2018, after having been registered as a Republican for years before that. “I believe more with the Democrats, but the Democrats are moving too far to the left and the Republicans are moving too far to the right,” she told the Queens Eagle in 2019. “We should look at the person, not the party.”
- Christopher Chin (Democrat, Approved by NYC Bar): Chin has worked as a trial attorney with the law firm Margaret G. Klein & Associates since 2006, handling negligence cases, according to his LinkedIn profile and a resume shared with The Village Reform Democratic Club. Chin told the organization that his background as a Chinese immigrant from Burma (now Myanmar) has made him “deeply aware of how a society can have two systems of justice–one of the favored class and another for the rest.” He told the group he supports New York’s bail reform laws, would seek to promote diversity in the court system and address inefficiencies to help resolve the backlog of court cases caused by the pandemic.
Judge of the Civil Court, 3rd Municipal District (Chelsea, Hudson Yards, Times Square and the Garment District)
Candidates: Vote for 1
- Paul A. Goetz (Democrat, Approved by NYC Bar): Goetz is currently an acting state Supreme Court justice, a role he has held for almost five years, according to Bloomberg. He has previously been a civil court judge. Goetz made the news most recently when he moved to unseal documents in an ongoing suit against former Gov. Eliot Spitzer in Oct. 2021, according to the Daily News.
Judge of the Civil Court, 5th Municipal District (Upper West Side, from W. 65th to W. 110th Streets)
Candidates: Vote for 1
- Hasa A. Kingo (Democrat, Approved by NYC Bar): Kingo was a former assistant district attorney at the Manhattan D.A.’s office, per his campaign site. An immigrant from Zimbabwe, he has also worked in the New York State Attorney General’s Office as an assistant A.G., and as a former court attorney for New York State Supreme Court Justice Peter H. Moulton.
Judge of the Civil Court, 9th Municipal District (Parts of Midtown East and the Upper East Side, as well as the Flatiron District.)
Candidates: Vote for 1
- Barbara Jaffe (Democrat, Approved by NYC Bar): Jaffe has been an acting state Supreme Court justice for more than a decade, per the New York Law Journal. She has also worked for the Legal Aid Society, and earned a law degree from Brooklyn Law School.
THE BRONX RACES
Justice of the Supreme Court, 12th Judicial District (boroughwide)
Candidates: Vote for 5
- George R. Villegas (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Villegas is a current State Supreme Court justice overssing criminal cases, according to the New York Law Journal. He earned a law degree from SUNY Buffalo’s law school, and has served as the associate director of legal affairs at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx. In 2010, Villegas was sued for $500,000 by a former law school classmate, the Daily News reported, over money Villegas’ friend said was loaned to him to pay off gambling debts.
- Anthony G. Marecki (Republican, Not Approved by NYC Bar): Little information is available online for Marecki. Earlier this year, he ran unsuccessfully for town justice in Lancaster, which is just east of Buffalo, New York, per the Buffalo News.
- Patsy D. Gouldborne (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Gouldborne, a Bronx County criminal court judge first elected in 2016, graduated from Pace University Law School in 2003, according to Trellis, a legal information site. A 2020 report published by the state court system says she is one of only 16 acting supreme court justices who is Latino.
- Paul L. Alpert (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Alpert is a civil court judge in The Bronx who was first elected in 2014, according to Trellis, a legal information website. He was appointed to housing court in the borough in 2000, and served until 2013.
- Marissa Soto (Democratic, Not Approved by NYC Bar): According to Ballotpedia, Soto is a civil court judge who assumed office in 2019.
- Naita A. Semaj (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Civil court judge Semaj is the current president of the Black Bar Association in The Bronx. She has previously worked as a family court attorney for the city Administration for Children’s Services, per Trellis, a legal information website
Judge of the Civil Court, 2nd Municipal Court District (West Bronx, including Mott Haven, Highbridge, Fordham Heights, Kingsbridge, Norwood and Riverdale)
Candidates: Vote for 2
- Jessica Flores (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Flores, a South Bronx attorney, runs a practice that focuses on labor law, divorce and malpractice, per the Riverdale Press, which adds that she also works as an adjunct professor at Hostos Community College and is the principal law clerk to a Bronx Supreme Court judge.
- Verena C. Powell (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Powell’s campaign website describes her as a “zealous advocate for the accused as well as victims of crime.” She has previously worked as an ADA in the Bronx District Attorney’s office. Presently, she is a supervising attorney of 700 criminal defense attorneys defending clients in Manhattan and Bronx criminal and supreme courts.
Judge of the Surrogate Court (boroughwide)
Candidates: Vote for 1
- Rosemarie Montalbano (Democratic): Currently a State Supreme Court justice in Brooklyn, Montalbano won the June primary by beating out Civil Court Judge Dweynie Esther Paul, who had the backing of the King County Democratic Party, according to Brooklyn Paper. Montalbano grew up in Bushwick, according to her campaign website, where “watching her parents almost lose their home and business to predatory lenders and their struggle navigating the city’s justice system without proper representation inspired,” her legal career.
Justice of the Supreme Court, 2nd Judicial District (boroughwide)
Candidates: Vote for 7
- Dena E. Douglas (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): A justice in the criminal division of Brooklyn Supreme Court for the last six years, Douglas is a Grenadian American who grew up in Brooklyn, according to a June interview with Caribbean Life. She previously worked as an ADA for the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, and a federal prosecutor in the United States Department of Justice Counterterrorism Section, according to the newspaper.
- Robert S. Mazzuchin Jr. (Republican, Conservative, Not Approved by NYC Bar): Mazzuchin is an attorney with Brand Glick Brand, P.C., a law firm with offices in Long Island and New Jersey, according to his bio on the company’s website. He’s a graduate of Brooklyn College and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Mazzuchin ran for City Council District 46 earlier this year, but withdraw from the ballot, according to Ballotpedia.
- Lillian Wan (Republican, Conservative, Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Kings County Supreme Court Justice Lillian Wan was the first Asian American woman to serve as a judge in New York Court of Claims, according to a 2018 Brooklyn Eagle profile. She also previously served in Family Court in Brooklyn and Queens, and is a graduate of Albany Law School, according to a bio on Cardozo Law School’s website, where Wan is listed as an adjunct professor.
- Carolyn Walker-Diallo (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): An administrative judge with the city’s Civil Court, Walker-Diallo was the first Muslim woman judge to serve in the State of New York when she was sworn into the 7th Municipal Court District in 2015, according to an interview with Brooklyn Paper. She also previously worked as counsel for the New York City Law Department and for Brooklyn Community Services, according to her online bio.
- Consuelo Mallafre-Melendez (Republican, Conservative, Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Mallafre-Melendez is a judge in Brooklyn criminal and civil courts, according to her online bio with the state court system. She is originally from Cuba, according to a 2016 interview with Politics NY. “I came to the United States as a young child with my family searching for the freedoms and liberties that were taken away in the country of my birth,” Mallafre-Melendez told the news site. She is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School.
- Gina Levy Abadi (Republican, Conservative, Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Gina Levy Abadi has served in her current capacity as a Brooklyn Civil Court judge since 2018, after working for 17 years as a law clerk for Justice Donald Kurtz, the Brooklyn Eagle reported at the time. She is the first Orthodox Sephardic Jewish female to seek a seat in the Supreme Court, according to an article in The Yeshiva World. She is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School.
- Joy F. Campanelli (Republican, Conservative, Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): A New York City Civil Court supervising judge on Staten Island. “My Supreme Court experience as a litigator and court attorney coupled with my judicial experience has prepared me for the nomination and the challenge of Supreme Court work,” Campanelli said in a Brooklyn District Leaders’ screening questionnaire. She is a longtime member of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.
- Richard J. Montelione (Republican, Conservative, Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Montelione is one of several candidates with the backing of the Kings County Democratic Party, according to Politics NY. He’s been active on LGBTQ issues with the Lambda Independent Democrats, Politico reported previously.
Judge of the Civil Court (boroughwide)
Candidates: Vote for 3
- Inga M. Oneale (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): A longtime Brooklyn attorney and Hofstra University School of Law grad, Oneale has most recently served as a principal law clerk for three different judges, and as a court attorney before that, according to her campaign website. She is also a volunteer arbitrator in the Kings County Small Claims Court. She was born in Antigua and raised in Grenada before moving with her family to New York in her late teens, her campaign bios says.
- Sharen D. Hudson (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): One of several candidates endorsed this year by the Brooklyn Democratic Party, Hudson is a Brooklyn Law School grad who more recently served in Kings County Criminal Court and in in Misdemeanor Brooklyn Treatment court, according to the website Trellis.
- Heela Doreen Capell (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): A graduate of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Capell says she was inspired to pursue a career as a judge after working as an attorney overseeing landlord-tenant disputes, which offered her a look at the “challenges facing individuals struggling to navigate the court system,” according to her campaign website. She is currently a judge in Kings County Housing Court.
Judge of the Civil Court, 2nd Municipal Court District (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights)
Candidates: Vote for 1
- Lisa Lewis (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Lewis is a lawyer and a Crown Heights native who now lives in Bed Stuy, and has worked as an attorney with District Council 37’s matrimonial unit, a legal aid in the Criminal Appeals Bureau, and clerked with a judge in New York Criminal Court. She has supported NY’s new cashless bail system. “For people who’ve been arrested and accused of misdemeanors, nonviolent crimes, to have them sit in jail because they can’t afford $500 or $600 – without being convicted of anything – doesn’t really make any sense. And they could lose their jobs, their homes, or their family could lose their home,” she told the Our Times Press in 2019. She also serves on Brooklyn Community Board 3, where she’s a member of the housing and land use committee, and was an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention on behalf of the Biden-Harris campaign, reported Bklyner.
Judge of the Civil Court, 7th Municipal Court District (Bushwick, Highland Park, Cypress Hill, East New York, and City Line)
Candidates: Vote for 1
- Keisha M. Alleyne (Democratic, Not Approved by NYC Bar): Alleyne was born and raised in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and holds a J.D. from Texas Southern University. According to her LinkedIn account, she’s Co-Founder of the non-profit Collegiate M.I.N.D.S Inc., focused on highlighting STEM careers, and is the CEO of Elite Vision Enterprise LLC, which works with students on public speaking and mock trial, Alleyne told Politics NY. . She has received endorsements from Alleyne has various elected officials including U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, NYS Senator Kevin Parker, Assemblymember Latrice M. Walker, Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuel, former Assemblymember Michael Blake, and former District Leader Nikki Lucas.
Justice of the Supreme Court, 11th Judicial District (boroughwide)
Candidates: Vote for 6
- Denis J. Butler
- Kenneth C. Holder (Democratic, Republican, Approved by NYC Bar): Justice Kenneth Holder has presided in Queens Criminal Supreme since 2009 following a two year stint in Brooklyn Criminal Court where he was initially assigned. He typically presides at murder and violent crime cases. He is running for reelection and has the endorsement of the Queens County Democratic Party. Before his tenure on the bench, Holder was a top prosecutor in the Queens District Attorney’s Office, where he served as head of the Narcotics Bureau and played a key role in establishing the borough’s drug treatment intervention court.
- Laurentina McKetney-Butler (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Judge Laurentina McKetney-Butler, a Democrat, was first elected to the Civil Court bench in 2015 and is seeking a seat in Queens Supreme Court. She previously served as a principal law clerk and supervising attorney, according to her brief bio on the NY Courts website. She has the endorsement of the Queens County Democratic Party.
- David Kirschner (Democratic, Republican, Not Approved by NYC Bar): David Kirschner, a Democrat, was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to serve as an interim judge in Bronx Civil Court by de Blasio in 2016. He later moved to Bronx Criminal Court. The Queens Eagle reported that Kirschner worked as a prosecutor in the Bronx District Attorney’s office from 1989 to 1993, opened his own practice, then returned for another stint as an assistant district attorney. He went on to serve as a principal law clerk for two other judges before his appointment to the bench.He has the endorsement of the Queens County Democratic Party.
- Karen Gopee (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Judge Karen Gopee, a Democrat, was first appointed to the Queens Criminal Court bench in 2015 by Mayor Bill de Blasio, making her the first-ever Indo-Caribbean jurist in state history, the Queens Eagle reported. She would also become the first ever state Supreme Court justice of Indo-Caribbean descent. Gopee is a former Brooklyn prosecutor and later served as principal court attorney for Judge Alex Calabrese. She is president of the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean Bar Association of Queens and has the endorsement of the Queens County Democratic Party.
- Denis J. Butler (Democratic, Republican, Approved by NYC Bar): Justice Denis Butler, a Democrat, is seeking a new 14-year term on the Civil Supreme Court bench after first being elected in 2008. The Queens Eagle reported that Butler presided in Queens Civil Court after his 2002 election. He has also worked as a principal law clerk for various former Queens judges. He has the endorsement of the Queens County Democratic Party.
- John C. Spataro (Republican, Not Approved by NYC Bar): John Spataro, a Republican, is an Ozone Park-based lawyer who is appearing on the ballot for a Queens judgeship after initially holding the line for the GOP in a Council race several miles from his home district. Spataro was a placeholder candidate for the Queens GOP in the race for Queens Council District 30, where Robert Holden, a nominal Democrat, faced a primary challenge. Holden won the primary and did not need the Republican line to cruise to victory in Middle Village, Maspeth, Glendale, Ridgewood and Woodhaven. The Republican party gave it to him anyway and made Spataro a judicial nominee. Under the state’s Wilson-Pakula law, parties can replace candidates only by moving the original candidate to another place on the ballot.
- Deborah Axt (Working Families, Not Approved by NYC Bar): Deborah Axt is the co-executive director at the organization Make the Road New York. She is running on the Working Families Party line.
- Bob Cohen (Working Families, Not Approved by NYC Bar): Bob Cohen is policy director at the nonprofit organization Citizen Action of New York. He is running on the Working Families Party line.
- Michele R. Titus (Democratic, Not Approved by NYC Bar): Former Assemblymember Michele Titus was first elected to the Civil Court bench in 2019 and is quickly leveling up to Queens Supreme. She represented parts of Southeast Queens and the eastern portion of the Rockaway Peninsula in the Assembly from 2002 to the end of 2019. She served as chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, Labor Committee and the Standing Committee on Governmental Operations, She once sued the state court system—her current employer—after her court officer husband was fired for swearing at a court visitor. The complaint charged the court system with wrongful termination and discriminating against Black workers, the Daily News reported in 2017.
Judge of the Civil Court (boroughwide)
Candidates: Vote for 2
- Andrea Ogle (Democrat, Approved by NYC Bar): Ogle specializes in family law and criminal defense practice and has represented hundreds of children accused of crimes, according to a profile in the West Indian. She also trains other attorneys on the state’s two-year-old Raise the Age law. Ogle was born in Guyana and moved to the U.S. as a child. Earlier this year, she told a reporter from Little Guyana-592 News that she decided to commit her legal career to assisting Queens’ growing Indo-Caribbean and South Asian communities. “For the last 20 years, I’ve worked in Queens County representing people who looked like us,” she said. “I found as an attorney practicing in courts that it was very difficult for people to navigate the system, especially people without a lot of money.”
- Soma Syed (Democrat, Not Approved by NYC Bar): Attorney Soma Syed is the other Democrat on the ballot for one of two countywide Civil Court seats after she defeated the Queens Democratic Party’s pick for a judgeship in the June primary. She instead ran with the support of the East Elmhurst Corona Democratic Club, led by former lawmaker Hiram Monserrate. Syed is the former president of the Queens County Women’s Bar Association and an experienced general practice lawyer who highlights her commitment to equity for women. In June, the Queens Chronicle reported on Syed’s embrace of anti-LGBTQ messaging as she attempted to appeal to conservative voters during a previous campaign for an open City Council seat. On a WhatsApp thread with voters, Syed’s husband highlighted an opponent’s support for same sex marriage. Syed later declined to say whether she supported same sex marriage when asked by the Chronicle. She went on to win the primary by defeating attorney Michael Goldman, who would have become the first openly gay man elected to the bench in Queens. You can find Syed on Twitter here.
- William D. Shanahan (Republican, Conservative, Save Our City, Approved by NYC Bar): Long Island-based defense attorney William Shanahan, a Republican, is also running for the countywide Civil Court seat.
Judge of the Civil Court, 3rd Municipal Court District (Middle Village, Fresh Pond, Glendale, Ridgewood)
Candidates: Vote for 1
- Paul Vallone (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Term-limited Councilmember Paul Vallone has his next gig all but locked up. A moderate Democrat and member of one of Queens’ most prominent political families, he’s running for a seat on the Civil Court bench in a district that covers a stretch of South Queens. His grandfather Charles Vallone previously served as a Queens judge and his brother Peter Vallone Jr.—another ex-councilmember—presides in Queens Criminal Supreme. Their father Peter Vallone Sr. served as city council speaker and now runs a large lobbying firm. Since 2007, Vallone has taken in at least $49,555 in campaign contributions from people who list their occupations as attorney, lawyer, law firm or legal secretary in New York City Campaign Finance Board records.
“As always we adhere to all recommendations listed within the Judicial Campaign Ethics Handbook from the New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics,” said Jonathan Szott, executive director of Committee to Elect Vallone for Civil Court. “That is why we are proud to be ranked well qualified by the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission and approved by the NYC Bar Association, the Queens County Bar Association and LGBT Bar Association. “
Vallone was first elected to the City Council in Northeast Queens’ District 19 in 2013 and chairs the Committee on Economic Development. Vallone is an attorney and partner, along with his father, in the firm Vallone & Vallone and has served as a board member on the New York City Board of Corrections, which sets standards for city jails.
- Joseph Kasper (Republican, Conservative, Save Our City, Approved by NYC Bar): Republican attorney Joseph Kasper is a perennial candidate for a Queens judgeship but has lost to Democrats in at least seven judicial elections since 2009. He has also served as a placeholder for the Queens GOP in other races, winning the Republican primary for a seat in City Council District 30 in 2017 before dropping out to allow eventual winner Robert Holden to take his place. Kasper’s law office is located in Ozone Park and his practice includes criminal defense work—he has represented a man found not guilty of murder—as well as family and estate law.
Judge of the Civil Court, 4th Municipal Court District (Briarwood, Forest Hills, Woodhaven, Jamaica Estates, Queens Village, Hollis, Cambria Heights, St. Albans, Springfield Gardens, Laurelton, Brookville and Rosedale)
Candidates: Vote for 1
- Cassandra A. Johnson (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Johnson is a southeast Queens resident raised in a Haitian American family. She first studied math and then attended St. John’s Law School for her J.D. degree. She began her legal career in private practice before moving on to work in the litigation department of the NYC Human Resources Administration. She also volunteers as an arbitrator in Small Claims Court assisting litigants to resolve their dispute. She currently works as a referee at the Supreme Court of Queens and has written over 6,000 judicial decisions. “I realize that cases do not appear in court, but rather people come to court as a last resort for a resolution to disputes. So, it is incumbent on the judge to make sure the parties understand what’s going on and feel like they’ve been heard, particularly as we come out of the pandemic and begin to reopen,” she told Schneps Media.
- Daniel Kogan (Democratic, Republican, Not Approved by NYC Bar): Kogan is an attorney with a law office in Ozone Park and for a short time was the Republican nominee for Queens District Attorney before stepping aside in 2019 (sources told the Queens Eagle at the time that Kogan was a “placeholder candidate” in that race, a tactic through which one party opens the general election ballot to a candidate who is not a member of the party, and said at the time that he would have been willing to step aside to let candidate Democratic candidate Gregory Lasak run on his Republican line instead).
STATEN ISLAND RACES
Justice of the Supreme Court, 13th Judicial District (boroughwide)
Candidates: Vote for 2
- Ann Thompson (Democrat, Approved by NYC Bar): Thompson is a native Staten Islander and attended Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School. She began her career at two private firms before serving with the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office for over 10 years and served as Bureau Chief of the Special Victims Bureau. In February 2018 she was appointed Judge of the Criminal Court.
- Paul Marrone Jr. (Republican, Approved by NYC Bar): Marrone Jr. obtained his B.A. degree at Wagner College and his J.D. at New York Law School. He has worked as a Legal Intern for both NYPD’s legal bureau office and the advocate’s office, according to his LinkedIn page. He was Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis’ chief of staff and more recently court as an attorney at Staten Island’s civil court.
- Charles M. Troia (Democrat, Approved by NYC Bar): Troia received both a B.A. and a J.D. from St. John’s University and is running for re-election for judge of the New York Supreme Court 13th Judicial District. He has worked as senior trial attorney and assistant corporation counsel, and started his career as a law clerk for Peter Cusick of the Supreme Court in 1996. He also was appointed to the Criminal Court of the city of New York in Richmond County by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2010.
- Ronald Castorina Jr. (Republican, Not Approved by NYC Bar): Castorina Jr. is currently is a Civil Court judge, and a graduate of St. Francis College and of The State University at Buffalo School of Law. He has worked as an attorney as a commissioner of the NYC Board of Elections and as a Lieutenant in the New York Guard Army Division. In addition, he has served as a law clerk to Justices of the Supreme Court and a Judge of the Criminal Court. He refused to be interviewed by the NYC Bar, and was labeled as “not approved,” by the group, which he has accused of being politically biased.
Judge of the Civil Court, 2nd Municipal Court District (Ward Hill, Stapleton, Grimes Hill, Sunnyside, Clifton, Shore Acres, Fox Hills, Rosebank, Grasmere, Old Town, Todt Hill, South Beach, Grant City, Midland Beach, New Dorp, Oakwood Heights, Oakwood Beach, Bay Terrace, Great Kills, Eltingville, Annadale, Rossville, Huguenot and Tottenville.)
Candidates: Vote for 1
- Maria Novak (Democratic, Approved by NYC Bar): Novak is an immigrant from the former Soviet Union who came to the U.S. at the age of 7. She is a small business owner who completed her undergraduate studies at Cornell University and subsequently earned her J.D. degree from Brooklyn Law School. She has worked for both small-sized and mid-sized firms.
- Brendan T. Lantry (Republican, Conservative, Approved by NYC Bar): Lantry resides in Eltingville and received a B.A. and J.D. degree both from St. John’s University. He worked as an assistant district attorney for late Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes. He was previously chairman of the Staten Island Republican Party.
*Editor’s note: This story has been updated the correct the name of an organization mentioned; it is the New York City Bar Association, not the New York Bar Association. City Limits regrets the error.
5 thoughts on “What About Those Judges? A Guide to NYC’s 2021 Judicial Ballot”
I guess you called the race between Vallone and Kasper a little too soon. As a Queens based attorney working in our local courts for over 35 years and one who has held several senior positions in the Queens County Bar Assn I have gotten to know many attorneys who have gone on to be judicial candidates. Mr. Kasper has been working in Queens for over six decades and he never forgot his roots in the community. You won’t find millionaires in his client portfolio but you will find hard working blue-collar people who he has assisted in navigating legal mazes. He will be a judge with a good ear who understands those who find themselves as litigants in the City Court in Queens.
The entire judge election system in nyc is pointless. They cannot campaign and little to no information on these candidates can be found. Often times candidates are booted off of their party lines into the judge election that are not even attorneys. This is not an effective way to put judges on the bench. The votes received are meaningless.
I am a law student. And I found your article while searching for different important topics regarding the law. In fact, I got a clear idea about the difference between “approved” and “not approved”. Thanks, for sharing!
I completely agree that the system for electing judges in New York is inefficient and needs to be reformed. As a law student, you understand the importance of having qualified judges on the bench, and I hope our elected officials will take your suggestions into consideration. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts!
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