NY top court to consider Suffolk DA's term limit

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Thomas J. Spota III (D), candidate for Suffolk

Thomas J. Spota III (D), candidate for Suffolk district attorney. (May 20, 2013) Photo Credit: James Escher

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New York’s top court will hear arguments today about whether Suffolk County’s term-limit law bars District Attorney Thomas Spota from running for a fourth term.

The Court of Appeals is set to take up the case at noon today.

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Last week, a midlevel court ruled — in a 3-2 decision — that a county law that imposes 12-year limit on local officials doesn’t apply to the office of district attorney. The majority said district attorneys are responsible for enforcing state laws and, therefore, only the state can restrict their terms.

The minority said there was no specific state constitution provision that prohibits a local term-limits law.

Spota, a Democrat, has been endorsed by the Democratic, Republican, Conservative and Independence parties. GOP challenger Ray Perini, a criminal attorney, is trying to knock Spota off the ballot. If he fails, the two would face off in the Sept. 10 GOP primary.

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