By Daniel Wiessner and Jessica Dye
Nov 7 (Reuters) - Three Republican judges who sit on New
York state appeals courts were defeated in judicial elections,
including Justice James Catterson, who sits on the influential
Appellate Division, First Department.
Justices Michael Kavanagh and Bernard Malone, who sit on the
Appellate Division, Third Department, also lost to Democratic
challengers, according to unofficial results.
The losses were part of a dominant Democratic performance in
judicial elections Tuesday, with some 30 seats on the Supreme
Court, which includes the Appellate Division, up for grabs along
with a number of local judicial positions.
It will be up to Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, to name
replacements for the appeals court vacancies created by the
election. Cuomo will make the appointments from among the judges
on the Supreme Court.
Catterson, 54, finished eighth among 12 candidates vying for
six seats in Long Island, according to preliminary results. He
did not immediately return a call for comment on Thursday.
A former deputy county attorney in Suffolk County, he was
appointed to the First Department in 2004 by former governor
George Pataki after six years in state Supreme Court.
Among his notable decisions: the 2009 majority opinion in
Kaur v. New York State Urban Development Corp, in which he
condemned the state for using eminent domain to give land to
Columbia University but concluded the court could not prevent
it; and a dissent earlier this year in Matter of Jaquan, in
which he defended the New York City Police Department's right to
stop and frisk a juvenile who was spotted taking an object from
Kavanagh, 69, was the district attorney in Ulster County for
20 years prior to being elected to the state judiciary. He was
appointed to the Appellate Division in 2008 by former governor
Malone, also 69, is a former Albany County assistant
district attorney and assistant U.S. attorney. He was appointed
to the Appellate Division, First Department, in 2005 by Pataki;
Spitzer appointed him to the Third Department in 2008.
Malone and Kavanagh did not return calls left with the Third
The First Department includes Manhattan and the Bronx. The
Third Department covers a large area of the state from Albany to
the Adirondacks and west to Binghamton.
In other top races (all results are unofficial):
FIRST DEPARTMENT (Manhattan and the Bronx)
* In the Bronx, Civil Court Judge Nelida Malave-Gonzalez, a
Democrat, and Frances O'Leary, a Republican and retired
attorney, are vying to replace Surrogate Lee Holzman. Results
were not available on Wednesday afternoon.
Holzman, who has reached the mandatory retirement age of 70,
is facing misconduct charges brought by the state judicial
conduct commission for allegedly failing to fire a lawyer in his
court who billed thousands of dollars in advance fees before
performing any work. Holzman has denied any wrongdoing.
* In Manhattan, Acting Supreme Court Justices Shlomo Hagler,
Manuel Mendez, Saliann Scarpulla and George Silver all won
14-year terms on the Supreme Court. The four Democrats ran
SECOND DEPARTMENT (Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long
Island, and five other counties)
* In Long Island, where Catterson lost, Democrats won five
of six seats. Second Department Justice Peter Skelos was the
lone Republican. The other winners were Justice Leonard Austin,
former Suffolk County Court judge Richard Ambro, Nassau County
District Court Judge Sondra Pardes and attorneys John Leo and
* Democrats also won all three Supreme Court seats that were
on the ballot in the 9th Judicial District, which includes
Westchester County and other northern suburbs of New York City.
Republican Supreme Court Justice John LaCava was ousted after
being topped by Acting Supreme Court Justice Gerald Loehr and
attorneys Maria Rosa and Sandra Sciortino.
* Results in contested Supreme Court races in Brooklyn and
Queens were not immediately available.
THIRD DEPARTMENT (Albany, Saratoga, Binghamton and several
* Kavanagh and Malone were defeated by attorneys Stephan
Schick and Richard Mott, both of whom are Democrats. Mott, 63,
is in private practice in Kindherhook, Columbia County, which is
south of Albany, and was an assistant public defender in
Columbia County from 1982 to 1987. Schick, 59, of Sullivan
County, is a defense attorney and the executive director of the
Sullivan Legal Aid Panel. In an interview Wednesday, Schick said
he believed residents of his home county wanted to elect a judge
from their turf. Sullivan County, which borders Pennsylvania,
has not had an elected Supreme Court justice in a decade, Schick
said, leading court administrators to send in judges from as far
away as Queens.
* Montgomery Supreme Court Justice Joseph Sise, a
Republican, was the top vote getter in the 4th Judicial
District, which covers Saratoga and 10 other counties and had
four Supreme Court seats on the ballot. Acting Supreme Court
Justices Felix Catena and Christine Clark and attorney Thomas
Buchanan won the remaining three seats. Catena and Buchanan are
Republicans and Clark is a Democrat.
FOURTH DEPARTMENT (Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and several
* In the 7th Judicial District, which includes Monroe
County, where Rochester is located, Acting Supreme Court Justice
Gail Donofrio, a Republican, and Acting Rochester City Court
Judge Scott Odorisi, a Democrat, won the two Supreme Court seats
up for grabs. Republican Supreme Court Justice David Michael
Barry lost his seat, coming in last in the four-way race.
* Chenango County Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dowd, a
Republican, won a second term on the bench after running
unopposed in the 6th Judicial District.
(Additional reporting by Joseph Ax)
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