Crowded field to fill 10 judge vacancies
With 10 State Supreme Court vacancies and 21 candidates, voters on the Island Tuesday had an abundance of choices.
Some candidates were incumbents while others were making a first attempt at seeking the position of State Supreme Court justice.
The 10 Republicans running were Joseph A. Santorelli, John B. Collins, Joseph C. Pastoressa, Jerome C. Murphy, Thomas A. Adams, Anthony L. Parga, R. Bruce Cozzens Jr., Paul J. Baisley Jr., Margaret C. Reilly and Roy S. Mahon.
With so many candidates vying for the coveted judgeships, vote-counting was expected to continue well into the night and possibly into Wednesday morning.
State Supreme Court justices wield broad authority over both civil and criminal matters. The job carries a term of 14 years and will pay $174,000 annually by 2014.
State Supreme Court is also the only New York court that addresses matrimonial matters such as separation, annulment and divorce.
As voters continued to cast ballots into the early evening hours, they were choosing from a wide field of candidates that included 10 Democrats and the 10 Republicans, some of whom were also running on the Conservative, Independence and Working Families lines. One additional candidate ran only on the Working Families line.
Two of the candidates -- Helene Gugerty and Joseph Lorintz -- work as principal law clerks for two State Supreme Court justices in Nassau. Gugerty works for Justice Jeffrey S. Brown and Lorintz works for Justice Randy Sue Marber. Lorintz and Gugerty are both Democrats.
Also among those running for State Supreme Court were two prosecutors from the Suffolk district attorney's office: John B. Collins, a Republican and the office's chief trial prosecutor; and William A. DeVore, a Democrat and deputy bureau chief of the office's district court bureau.
One candidate, attorney Jerome C. Murphy, a Republican, of Island Park, is a senior partner at Chesney & Murphy in Baldwin and about a week before Election Day said, "If we don't have a strong and independent judiciary, it will diminish."
One candidate, Evan Inlaw of Yonkers, has brought a bit of Westchester politics to Long Island. As the result of quirky New York State election law, Inlaw was able to run on Long Island even though he lives in Yonkers.
Inlaw, an attorney, had been running on the Working Families line for mayor of Yonkers. But when Working Families decided to run Democratic Assemb. Michael Spano of Yonkers instead, they had to find a place for Inlaw to run.
Under state election law, the only way to take Inlaw off the ballot for Yonkers mayor so Spano could take his place was to run him for another position within the state.
Inlaw said he didn't want to be a judge and predicted he "didn't have a snowball's chance on a summer's day" of winning.
Some of the other candidates either practice law or serve as family or district court judges. One of them, District Court Judge Joseph A. Santorelli, a Republican from West Babylon, said when asked why he aspired to State Supreme Court: "As a judge it's the pinnacle of service.