State Court of Claims Judge James Lack, once dubbed "Senator Road Rage" by critics, has quietly stepped down after nine years on the bench. Lack, 66, resigned from the $136,700-a-year job effective Jan. 31, said David Bookstaver, spokesman for the Office of Court Administration. Lack's 10-year term was to expire March 22, 2012. Bookstaver could not give a reason for the exit.
Lack, who spent 22 years as a state senator from East Northport and chaired the judiciary committee, decided not to run for re-election after a highly publicized 2002 incident in which he followed a female driver into her garage and harangued her. Despite the outburst, and others over the years, Gov. George Pataki nominated Lack to the court post. In 2009, Lack became embroiled in another yelling incident, with a New York City traffic agent. - Rick Brand