District Court Judge G. Ann Spelman has filed papers to retire at year's end, and Marian Tinari, wife of Huntington Conservative Party chairman Frank Tinari, is a leading contender to succeed her.
Spelman, 62, a Northport Republican, also currently serves as an acting County Court judge earning $174,000. She will exit after nearly nine years on the bench, and three years before her term is up.
By law, Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone gets to appoint Spelman's temporary successor to the $156,200-a-year District Court judgeship, with ratification by the Suffolk Legislature. Voters next November will elect a candidate to serve the remainder of the term through Dec. 31, 2017.
Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider said, "We have just gotten word of her retirement and will be consulting with officials."
Tinari surfaced as a possible replacement following a town District Court cross-endorsement deal this year. Conservatives backed two Democrats -- James Matthews, former law partner of the minor party's leader, and Patricia Grant-Flynn, daughter of the late Huntington Town Supervisor Robert Flynn. In return, Democrats backed incumbent Conservative District Court Judge Paul Hensley. Hensley, whom the state reprimanded in 2012 for taking part in an illegal poker game, lost.
Mary Collins, Huntington Democratic chairwoman, said Marian Tinari was not part of the original deal but is in contention for the judgeship.
"We've been talking about it," Collins said. "No decision has been made."
She said Tinari will be screened by the county bar association Thursday.
Tinari, 60, of Huntington, is a court attorney referee for Suffolk administrative Judge C. Randall Hinrichs.
She also served as law clerk for former Suffolk Surrogate Judge John Czygier.
Tinari declined to comment, and her husband did not return calls for comment.
Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, said he would leave the recommendation of Spelman's successor to the party's town committee, but he added, "Marian is highly qualified and would make an outstanding judge."