By Daniel Wiessner
ALBANY, N.Y., Jan 22 (Reuters) - A Brooklyn judge who was
the first to uphold the constitutionality of Kendra's Law, which
allows courts to order certain mentally ill people to undergo
outpatient treatment, has died at the age of 74.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Anthony Cutrona died Jan. 16,
David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the Office of the Court
Bookstaver said he did not know the cause of Cutrona's
death. The justice's active cases have been assigned to Supreme
Court Justice Richard Velasquez, he said.
Under Article VI, Section 21(a), of the state constitution,
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo may designate an interim
replacement for Cutrona until his seat is officially filled
during the November elections. Cuomo's pick would be subject to
A representative for the governor's judicial screening
committee did not return a request for comment.
In 2000 Cutrona was the first judge to uphold the
constitutionality of Kendra's Law, the expansion of which was
included in a sweeping gun control measure passed last week.
Enacted in 1999, the law was named for a New York City woman
who was pushed onto subway tracks and killed by a man diagnosed
with schizophrenia. Critics of the law argued that it violated
the constitutional right to refuse medical treatment. Cutrona
found that the law was constitutional; a few months later, a
Queens judge made a similar ruling, which was upheld by the
Court of Appeals.
Cutrona was elected to the Supreme Court in 1999, where he
primarily presided over the mental hygiene and guardianship
He reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2008 but
was certified to stay on the bench for three additional two-year
terms. He would have been forced to retire at the end of 2014.
Before joining the bench, Cutrona was a partner at the firm
DiCostanzo & Cutrona.
He served on the Committee on Character and Fitness of the
Appellate Division, Second Department, and on former mayor
Rudolph Giuliani's Advisory Committee on the Judiciary,
according to a biography on the Office of Court Administration
He was active on the Brooklyn Bar Association and Columbian
Lawyers Association and a founding member of the National
Italian American Bar Association.
"His passing is a terrible blow not only to the (Brooklyn
Bar Association) and its members but also the Brooklyn judicial
system," Domenick Napoletano, the bar group's current president,
said in a statement.
A child of Italian immigrants, Cutrona attended Villanova
University and Fordham University and received his law degree
from New York Law School in 1966.
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