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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Administrative Judge Nicolai Upset Election Can't Be Fixed... (CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY)

The good old days of fixing judicial elections in Westchester, Dutchess, Rockland, Putnam and Orange Counties just may be coming to an end soon. The New York Law Journal reports...MORE...

In the good old days, cross-party endorcements and fat-cat bullying determined who would be a judge in the 9th judicial district. Then, judicial steering would seal the fate of "justice" so that the party thugs' predetermination of a case would go as planned.

It's a system- a CORRUPT one, of course, but that's the way things have been going in the 9th judicial district for a very long time.

Here's a great article by Daniel Wise:

NY Judge Files Three Lawsuits Over Rivals' Endorsements By Minor Parties

New York Lawyer - October 11, 2007
By Daniel Wise - New York Law Journal

Ninth Judicial District Administrative Judge Francis A. Nicolai filed three lawsuits Friday to nullify the minor party nominations of four rivals for Supreme Court.

Judge Nicolai - who named Conservative, Working Families and Independence Party officials and other candidates, including his two Democratic running mates - is running for one of three open seats in the five-county district. He claims the parties followed improper procedures that violated election law in deciding which candidates to back.

The endorsements are important because they carry extra ballot lines and votes. In tight contests, those votes can be the margin of victory.

Judge Nicolai's move, sources said, prompted a request from one of his Republican adversaries that the case be moved out of the district and that Judge Nicolai be temporarily replaced as administrative judge while the litigation is pending.

Yesterday, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Jan H. Plumadore ordered the case transferred to Albany at the request of "all the candidate litigants" in the three cases.

Judge Nicolai continues to serve as the district's administrative judge, said David Bookstaver, spokesman for the Office of Court Administration, because there is "absolutely no reason he can't be fair and impartial in terms of his duties as administrative judge pending the outcome of a case that will be resolved quickly in a different venue."

Thomas Abinanti, who is representing Judge Nicolai in two of the lawsuits, said that Judge Nicolai had notified OCA in advance that the lawsuit would be filed in Westchester County and asked for the cases to be moved to another county.

One of Judge Nicolai's Republican rivals, however, said he had been in touch on Tuesday with Judge Plumadore, who at the time appeared unaware that Judge Nicolai had filed lawsuits in Westchester County.

The litigation pits Judge Nicolai against two fellow Democrats running for the three seats in the Ninth: Orange County Surrogate Elaine Slobod, who has been nominated by the Independence, Conservative and Working Families parties, and Rockland County Surrogate Robert M. Berliner, who is also a Working Families nominee.

The two Republican Party candidates, whose third party nominations Judge Nicolai is seeking to upend, are incumbent Justice William E. Sherwood, who is running for a second term on the Conservative and Independence lines, and Westchester County Court Judge Rory J. Bellantoni, who is running on the Conservative, Independence and Working Families lines.

Judge Nicolai, who was elected as a Supreme Court justice in 1990, decided not to seek a second term in 2004 in the Ninth District, which is usually favorable terrain for Republicans, after he was unable to secure the Independence nomination. Instead, he ran for - and won - a seat on the County Court in Westchester, which has become increasingly Democratic in recent years.

After his election, Judge Nicolai, who has been administrative judge since 1999, was named an acting Supreme Court justice.

Sources identified Justice Sherwood as the candidate who had asked for Judge Nicolai to be replaced during the litigation. Justice Sherwood did not directly acknowledge that in an interview yesterday but did not deny the reports. He also said he had sent e-mails to all candidates involved in the litigation in which he raised the issue of "what an awkward situation" it could create.

Judge Bellantoni said in an interview that, when he had called Judge Plumadore on Tuesday to give him a "heads up" about Judge Nicolai's lawsuits, Judge Plumadore had left him with "the impression that he was unaware of any pending litigation."

Judge Bellantoni added that he believed the cases should be moved because there were concerns about any litigation being handled within the district where Judge Nicolai was the supervisor of the four defendant judges as well as any judge to whom the case would be assigned.

Judge Bellantoni also said that since the normal process is for Judge Nicolai to assign election cases, a transfer was "preferable" because it would eliminate the need to ask any questions about how the cases were assigned.

Mr. Abinanti, Judge Nicolai's lawyer, said that the lawsuits had been filed in Westchester as a "convenience" because most of the parties were located there and he was facing a tight statute of limitations deadline.

"We knew it was going to be transferred," he said, because "it couldn't be tried [in Westchester] because every judge would have to be recused."

Meanwhile, Mr. Abinanti said it was "somewhat strange" for Justice Sherwood to complain about Justice Nicolai filing a lawsuit in the Ninth District while bringing his own lawsuit in Dutchess County, one of the other counties within the district. In that lawsuit, Mr. Abinanti said, Justice Sherwood is seeking to remove the Right to Life Party symbol from a combined line with the Conservative Party. The lines were combined because of a state law limiting the number of lines per candidate to three, he said.

Justice Sherwood said that, unlike Judge Nicolai, he had not sued any other judges but had only named the state Board of Elections as a defendant in an effort to force a re-arrangement of the way the ballot is structured.

Mr. Abinanti represents Judge Nicolai in the lawsuits filed against the Conservative (Nicolai v. Kelleher, 20495/07) and Working Families (Nicolai v. Kelleher, 20496/07) parties.

Judge Nicolai claims the Conservative nominations should be voided because its nominating convention was held on an unauthorized date, conducted an improper secret ballot and excluded both the public and alternate delegates.

His claims against the Working Families nominations were that a vote was taken without a quorum and that its delegates were not properly apportioned among assembly districts contained within the ninth judicial district.

Similar claims were raised in Judge Nicolai's lawsuit against the Independence Party nominations. In that lawsuit, he is being represented by Jeffrey D. Buss of Smith Buss & Jacobs in Yonkers.


Anonymous said...

Francis A. Nicolai has a full oourt press on and will continue non-stop since much is at stake

Anonymous said...

Nicolai can fix everything else what's the problem with the election - Why not?

Anonymous said...

They know an election is easy to fix they do it all the time

Anonymous said...

why are you just talking about nicolai fixxing elections? all of them do it.

Anonymous said...

stand back.... stay clear.... lately, one frank nicolai is one VERY ANGRY CORRUPT JUDGE.

Anonymous said...

yep, nicky needs help alright..... for his greed!!

Anonymous said...

ya know, it just ain't fair. judge nicolai has been able to rig elections and cases for years. it's not right that what he has been allowed to get away with just suddenly stops. how else is he to get elected? how else is he to steer cases to certain hack judges who will do what they are told? how else is he to insure the flow of cash?

you have to think things through sometimes....

Anonymous said...

funny...he didn't look very happy thursday nite too!

Anonymous said...

Nicolai can fix anything, that's the least his masters require.....

Anonymous said...

These so-called Judges belong in JAIL. Lock them all up and throw away the keys.


Anonymous said...

There is a case where Judge Francis Nicolai contributed with the dirty tricks to violated a litigants rights in a matrimonial and child custody case and the evidence was later discover and the litigant made copies as it was left in the master records well kept by the Clerk's office.

Anonymous said...

Can you believe that Judge Nicolai sued some political parties because they didn't give him the line. That means that someone else paid more money to get that line. Maybe Nicolai didn't have the money to buy the line?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it was in today's paper is the guy a dope or what?

Anonymous said...

I don't care what "line" or "lines" Nicolai gets on. He still belongs in jail.

Anonymous said...

Could never figure out how Nicolai as a county Judge could be the Administrative Judge for the Supreme 9th Dist? Know that the now PJ Lippman's gave his blessing with his buddy Shel Silberman in Albany backing him up. ???????

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how a County Judge like Nicolai can be the Administrative Judge over Supreme Court Judges? Am I the only one that get this?

Anonymous said...

the morning line is that Nicolai is going to take a hard fall on the election

Anonymous said...

Francis Nicolai is no longer fit to be in office. Too much abuse is time to clean and get the rats out

Anonymous said...

You are missing the point, it's not just Francis Nicolai, it's the people behind and above him. Don't just focus on Nicolai, it's much more insidious and pervasive than that.

Anonymous said...

one more election fix won't hurt anyone. come on, let it go.

Anonymous said...

One more fix is like saying one more murder won't hurt anyone..let it go. The more you become de- sensitized to crime and corruption the more it furthers america's destruction! Please.... always have the attitude that you can make a difference somewhere and somehow. If you only knew what i have done within the judicial system by myself , using some great sources, you would jump at learning your place within this attempt to give us and independent and ethical court system!

Anonymous said...

from the

Orange County candidates seek 9th Judicial District seats
By Oliver Mackson
Times Herald-Record
October 29, 2007
Goshen — Orange County voters have the power to end an 8-year drought for local state Supreme Court candidates in next week's election.

Two local candidates are among the six major-party nominees running in the 9th Judicial District, which includes Orange, Rockland, Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties. There are three seats up for grabs in an at-large election. Each seat carries a $136,700 annual salary and a 14-year term.

Supreme Court justices, unlike their County and Family court counterparts, must run on an at-large basis in all five counties. They're the only judges in New York who can divide property in a divorce. They also preside over slip-and-fall damage cases and decide disputes between governments, such as Orange County's challenge to the Village of Kiryas Joel's proposed water pipeline.

Orange has lost ground to other counties in the at-large elections for state Supreme Court over the past five years. Justice John McGuirk, who was elected in 1999, is the only locally elected justice serving a full term in Goshen these days. The shortage is filled by judges from other counties in the district, sometimes leading to complaints about judges' lack of familiarity with Orange County, and complaints about cases being postponed when judges return to their home counties.

The candidates tend to put the greatest emphasis on their credentials and experience, rather than staking out policy positions. New York, like other states with judicial elections, places severe restrictions on a candidate's speech. For example, candidates can't promise to rule a particular way in a particular case, lest they be accused of prejudging the case.

Candidates for the 9th Judicial District
• Elaine Z. Slobod, Tuxedo

Democrat-Independence-Conservative-Working Families

Orange County Surrogate and acting state Supreme Court justice. She's been the county's surrogate since 1995, presiding over wills and trusts and carrying a part-time Supreme Court calendar as well. She's also been a Family Court judge and a Middletown City Court judge.

• Christine Krahulik, Warwick


Orange and Westchester County Family Court support magistrate. She's been a support magistrate since June, a quasi-judicial position that involves resolving child-support issues. From 2000 until her appointment to the support position this year, she was law clerk to Orange County Family Court Judge Carol Klein.

• William J. Sherwood, Stony Point


State Supreme Court justice. Sherwood is seeking his second term on the state Supreme Court. He sits in Rockland County, but he's also served as an acting Supreme Court justice in Orange County.

• Robert Berliner

Democrat-Working Families

Rockland County Surrogate. Like Slobod, Berliner is also an acting state Supreme Court justice. He spent 21 years as a court attorney in state Supreme and Surrogate courts in Rockland, and served in the county Legislature.

• Rory Bellantoni

Republican-Conservative-Independence-Working Families

Westchester County Court judge, presides over one of Westchester County's criminal courts, as well as its sex offender court. He's an acting state Supreme Court justice, and has been an acting Family Court judge.

• Francis Nicolai


Westchester County Court judge, served one term as a state Supreme Court justice, then won a County Court seat after Republicans refused to cross-endorse him. Since 1998, Nicolai's been the administrative judge of the 9th Judicial District, which gives him some supervisory duties over other judges.

• Anthony J. DeCintio, Anthony D. Zepf


Decinto, a lawyer from Tuckahoe; and Zepf, a lawyer from New City, are also running.

Anonymous said...

Well the hand writing is on the wall, Francis Nicolai has lost his 3 election cases, news of this was just released. So the election will be going on. Does Nicolai think that he will lose?

Anonymous said...

what did Frank think? he still thinks he can fix his election like a horse race is fixed?

Anonymous said...

I will not cast a vote for any of the people running for Judge, I think they are all unfit. A federal t ask force must come into West. Co. and take all these alleged Judges to the trash heap.

Anonymous said...

you people are sick.....Francis Nicolai won, so get over it!

Anonymous said...

Nicolai may have pulled off another sham election, but he'll soon be replaced as the Administrative Judge of the 9th. No a second too soon. He's done enough damage!

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Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2
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