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Suspense has just begun to mount in the politically-charged legal battle over Suffolk term limits.
Last week acting state Supreme Court Justice Ralph Gazzillo ruled that the county’s term law does not apply to the countywide offices of district attorney, sheriff and clerk, essentially because the posts are products of the state Constitution.
Now the question becomes whether the ruling will be appealed.
Lawyer Stuart Besen was hired to defend the term-limits law when the county attorney opted out, citing potential conflicts. Besen said Friday he will file a notice of appeal, which would preserve the option of a full appeal, but whether to follow up, he said, depends on “the client,” which could mean the county or its legislature.
On Wednesday, the legislature’s Ways and Means Committee is expected to interview Besen. Committee chairman Ricardo Montano (D-Central Islip) said Besen is correct to file the notice.
Gazzillo also decided to knock out county voter Peter Nichols as an intervenor in the suit; Nichols’ lawyer Bruce Plesser said Friday he will appeal that denial.
Current incumbents with a stake in the outcome are District Attorney Thomas Spota, Sheriff Vincent DeMarco and Clerk Judith Pascale, who sued together to void the county law.