March 5, 2009
GOVERNOR PATERSON ANNOUNCES APPELLATE DIVISION APPOINTMENTS AND COURT OF CLAIMS NOMINATIONS
Governor David A. Paterson today announced several appointments and nominations for judicial vacancies. The Governor will appoint the Honorable Roslyn Richter to fill a vacancy in the Appellate Division, First Department. He will also appoint the Honorable Leonard B. Austin, the Honorable L. Priscilla Hall and the Honorable Plummer E. Lott to fill three vacancies in the Appellate Division, Second Department. Further, the Governor will appoint the Honorable Elizabeth A. Garry to fill a vacancy on the Appellate Division, Third Department. “I am proud to appoint and nominate such a talented group of individuals to serve on our courts,” said Governor Paterson. “Their experience and dedication will be a tremendous addition to New York’s highly accomplished and respected courts.”
Justice Richter has been a Justice of the Supreme Court since January 2003, and was an Acting Supreme Court Justice from 2000 to 2002. She currently presides over matrimonial and guardianship cases, and has had experience presiding over civil and criminal matters. From 1998 to 2000, Justice Richter was the Supervising Judge in Bronx Criminal Court, and the Deputy Supervising Judge in that court during 1997. She was a criminal court judge in New York County from 1990 to 1996, and from 1993 to 1996, also served as a part-time judge in the Midtown Community Court. From 1987 to 1990, she presided over administrative proceedings in the New York City Office of Administrative Trials. She served in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office from 1983 to 1987, as the Executive Director of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund from 1980 to 1983, and as an associate in private practice from 1978 to 1979. Justice Richter also teaches at New York Law School, and serves on a number of court advisory groups and bar association committees. Justice Richter received her Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College in 1976, and her Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School in 1979.
Justice Austin is currently assigned to the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of Nassau County, a position he has held since October 2000. Since 2002, Justice Austin has also served as a Special Professor of Law at the Hofstra University School of Law. From January 2000 to October 2000, Justice Austin was assigned to a dedicated Matrimonial Part and the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of Nassau County. From January 1999 to December 1999, he was a Justice assigned to a Dedicated Matrimonial Part of the Supreme Court of Suffolk County. From August 1990 to December 1998, Justice Austin was in private practice, where he focused on commercial, matrimonial and family law and was a litigator. From July 1988 to July 1990, Justice Austin was a partner at the law firm of Wolfson, Grossman & Austin. From November 1980 to August 1988, Justice Austin was a partner at the law firm of Stillman, Herz & Austin. From January 1980 to December 1981, he was Associate Counsel to the Honorable Stanley Fink, Speaker of the New York State Assembly. From December 1979 to November 1980, Justice Austin was a partner at the law firm of Stillman & Austin. From June 1978 to November 1979, he was in private practice. Justice Austin received his Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University in 1971and his Juris Doctor from the Hofstra University School of Law in 1977. Justice Hall is currently an elected Justice of the Supreme Court of Kings County, a position she has held since January 1994. Justice Hall is also currently the Administrative Judge of the Criminal Division of the Kings County Supreme Court, a position she has held since February 2008. She has served as Judge of the New York State Court of Claims, from July 1990 to January 1994; Acting Justice of the Supreme Court of Kings County, from March 1990 to July 1990; a Judge of the Criminal Court of New York City from February 1986 to March 1990, and as Inspector General of the New York City Human Resources Administration, from November 1982 to February 1986. She served as Assistant Attorney General of the New York State Department of Labor, from February 1982 to November 1982, and as Inspector General of the New York State Department of Employment, from October 1979 to March 1982. Justice Hall was an Assistant District Attorney in New York County, from February 1974 to June 1979, and a corporate attorney for General Electric from August 1973 to February 1974. Justice Hall received her Bachelor of Arts from Howard University in 1964, graduating magna cum laude. She graduated cum laude in 1969 from the Columbia University School of Journalism. Justice Hall received her Juris Doctor from the Columbia University School of Law in 1973.
Justice Lott is currently an elected Justice in the Criminal Term of the Supreme Court of Kings County, a position he has held since 1995. His current docket consists primarily of high profile felonies. From 1991 until his election to the Supreme Court, Justice Lott served as a Judge in the Criminal Court of New York and Kings Counties. From 1983 to 1991, Justice Lott was in private practice as a criminal defense lawyer. From 1981 to 1983, he was an Assistant General Counsel in the Human Resources Administration, where he supervised over 50 lawyers dealing with child abuse and neglect cases. From 1978 to 1981 he was an Assistant District Attorney in the Queens County District Attorney's Office. From 1969 until 1971, Justice Lott played professional basketball for the Seattle Supersonics in the NBA. Justice Lott received his Bachelor of Arts from Seattle University in 1969 in Political Science. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Washington Law School in 1972. Justice Garry was elected to the State Supreme Court, 6th Judicial District in November 2006. From 2001 through 2006, she served as Town Justice for the Town of New Berlin, and from 1995 through 2006, she worked at the Joyce Law Firm in Sherburne, New York, as a litigator primarily handling plaintiff’s personal injury litigation. From 1990 through 1994, she clerked for Justice Irad Ingraham. She graduated from Alfred University in 1984 and Albany Law School in 1990. Justice Garry resides with her same sex life partner, step-son and adopted son. The annual salary for Justices of the Appellate Division is $144,000 and the appointments are not subject to Senate confirmation.
In addition, the Governor has nominated Ann M. Donnelly, the Honorable Jeffrey D. Lebowitz and the Honorable Juan Merchan to fill three vacancies on the Court of Claims. Since 1984, Ms. Donnelly has served in the New York County District Attorney’s office. From 2005 to present, she has been the Bureau Chief, Family Violence Child Abuse Bureau. From 1997 to 2005, she was Senior Trial Counsel. From 1989 to 2005, she worked on the Major Offense Career Criminal Program. From 1984 to 1989, she worked in the New York County District Attorney's Office Appeals Bureau. Ms. Donnelly received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan in 1981 and her Juris Doctor from Ohio State University in 1984.
Judge Lebowitz is currently an Acting Supreme Court Justice in the Matrimonial Term of the Supreme Court of Queens County; his term began in January 2004. Justice Lebowitz has also held several other judicial positions: Acting Supreme Court Justice assigned to the Queens Family Court, from February 2003 to January 2004; Acting Supreme Court Justice in the Civil Term of the Queens Supreme Court, from January 2001 to January 2003; Acting Supreme Court Justice in the Criminal Term of the Queens Supreme Court, from October 1999 to January 2001; Acting Supreme Court Justice in the Arraignment, Trial and All Purpose Parts of the Queens Criminal Court, from April 1994 to October 1999;-and Acting Supreme Court Justice in the Arraignment, Trial and All Purpose Parts of the Bronx Criminal Court, from August 1993 to April 1994. From 1989 until 1993, Justice Lebowitz was an Arbitrator in Small Claims Court. From August 1977 to August 1993, Justice Lebowitz was a Law Secretary to the Honorable Philip J. Chetta, who was a Justice in the Appellate Term of the New York State Supreme Court. Justice Lebowitz was an Instructor of Paralegal Studies at Long Island University in 1977. Justice Lebowitz was appointed by Mayor Dinkins in 1993, Mayor Giuliani in 1994, Mayor Bloomberg in 2002 and again by Mayor Bloomberg in 2005. Justice Lebowitz received his Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1973 and received his Juris Doctor from Hofstra University School of Law in 1976, where he was a law fellow.
Judge Merchan is currently a Judge in the Family Court of New York City – a position he has held since August 2006. In this capacity, he presides over juvenile delinquencies and designated felonies. In addition, Judge Merchan is an adjunct faculty member at the Hofstra University School of Law, where he teaches in the Trial Advocacy Program – a position he has held since summer 2001. From October 2003 to August 2006, he was the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Nassau County region at the New York Attorney General's Office. From February 2002 to October 2003, he was the Assistant Attorney General in charge of public advocacy for Nassau and Suffolk Counties at the New York Attorney General's Office. From March 1999 to February 2002, Judge Merchan was the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Nassau County Regional Office of the New York Attorney General's Office. From March 1998 to March 1999, Judge Merchan was an Assistant District Attorney in the Special Prosecutions Bureau of the Investigations Division of the New York County District Attorney's Office. From September 1994 to March 1998, Judge Merchan was an Assistant District Attorney in the Trial Division of the New York County District Attorney's Office. Judge Merchan received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Baruch College, the City University of New York, in 1990 and his Juris Doctor from the Hofstra University School of Law in 1994. The annual salary of a Court of Claims Judge is $136,700 and the nominations are subject to Senate confirmation. The Governor also nominated Edward F. Skoda to fill a vacancy on the Family Court in Fulton County and the Honorable Andrew G. Ceresia to fill a vacancy on the County Court in Rensselaer County.
Edward F. Skoda has represented Fulton County in Family Court in abuse, neglect and support proceedings since 1985. He has been an active lawyer engaged in a broad spectrum of practice in Gloversville since admission to the bar in February 1974. Born in 1948, Mr. Skoda attended local schools in Gloversville and graduated from Bishop Burke High School in 1966. He graduated from Siena College in 1970 and from Albany Law School in 1973. Mr. Skoda is married with three grown daughters. Justice Ceresia is currently a North Greenbush Town Justice, first elected in 1999. He is an Appellate Court Attorney, Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department. He has been an Acting City Court Judge in Albany, Hudson and Rensselaer. Justice Ceresia is a graduate of SUNY Oneonta, Bachelor of Science, 1993 and Albany Law School, Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, 1998. Justice Ceresia, his wife and son reside in Rensselaer County.