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Judicial races: Suffolk bar OKs Heckman, mum on Budd

Marlene Budd on Sept. 22, 2005 in Huntington.

Marlene Budd on Sept. 22, 2005 in Huntington. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Suffolk Bar Association screening panel has found Conservative Howard Heckman qualified to run for Brookhaven District Court, but remained mum on the outcome of the rehearing of Family Court Judge Marlene Budd.

Both Heckman and Budd, now serving as an acting State Supreme court judge, appeared before screening committee last Thursday night, according to high level political sources.

Budd in late May was not found qualified for re-election by the bar screening committee, but the South Setauket judge could still appeal to the bar associaton's board of directors if the screening panel did not reverse its earlier decision.

Both major parties have voluntarily agreed not to run candidates not found qualified, but the Suffolk Democratic Committee nominated Budd before the bar acted. Budd earlier this month accepted the nomination once petitions were filed, meaning she will appear on the Democratic line on the November ballot. However, Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chair said the party will not actively back her candidacy unless the bar association reverses its earlier stand.

Heckman, 63, of Center Moriches, served eight years as an assistant district attorney, more than two decades as law secretary to former state Supreme Court Justice Melvyn Tannenbaum and now works as a court attorney-referee. Heckman's daughter, Betsy, law clerk to Conservative state Supreme Court Justice John Collins and engaged to be married to Michael Torres, secretary of the Suffolk Conservative Party.

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