1250 Broadway, 27th Floor New York, NY 10001



As we reported on Tuesday, due to widespread budget cuts triggered by the pandemic, the New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA) has denied recertification to 46 senior judges; meaning that their terms will expire at the end of this year.

Only three appellate judges were recertified and┬ásurvived termination because, according to OCA spokesperson Lucian Chalfen, they handle “additional assignments that are important to the court system.” Per Chalfen, Appellate Division, First Department, Administrative Judge Angela Mazzarelli was retained┬ábecause she serves on several task forces and commissions. Appellate Term, First Department, Justice Carol Edmead presides over a “complex” caseload and matters of election law. While Appellate Term, Second Department, Administrative Judge Jerry Garguilo is handling a large (civil) opioid trial.

With nearly four dozen terminations announced, the judiciary seems to be sticking to its cost-cutting plans--despite sharp criticism from state legislators and representatives of the legal community. New York State Assembly member Jeffrey Dinowitz, who chairs the Assembly Judiciary Committee, urged Chief Administrative Judge, Lawrence Marks, to reconsider his decision. Dinowitz suggested that the court system wait a little longer before making such a drastic move, as he believes a new “tax hike” on wealthy New Yorkers, or a coronavirus relief package from D.C., could plug the budget deficit and provide a lifeline to the courts. “This decision, which by definition is a form of age discrimination, will exacerbate the crisis facing our court system and will significantly impact the already huge backlog facing many of the courts due to COVID-19,” said Dinowitz.

In response, Judge Marks wrote, “[t]o avoid layoffs of non-judicial employees this fiscal year—something I am sure you agree should be an absolute last resort—we are compelled to take additional painful and difficult steps such as the decisions regarding certification[.]” Despite these assurances, the OCA’s decision to deny recertification is bound to affect law secretaries and court clerks who worked for these judges, and who either will now be laid off or will have to apply to other judges with open positions.

With caseloads only likely to increase in the wake of the pandemic, the loss of these jurists is certain to adversely impact the courts’ ability to timely address cases.

"It is a travesty," noted Lucas A. Ferrara, a partner at Newman Ferrara LLP. "This is a move that will adversely impact the administration of justice for years to come."

# # #

The judges impacted by OCA’s determination include:

Hon. David Friedman

Hon. Ellen Frances Gesmer

Hon. Jeffrey A. Cohen

Hon. John M. Leventhal

Hon. Joseph J. Maltese

Hon. Eugene P. Devine

Hon. Sheri S. Roman

Hon. Ben R. Barbato

Hon. Robert T. Johnson

Hon. Donald A. Miles

Hon. Howard H. Sherman

Hon. Fernando Tapia

Hon. Lester B. Adler

Hon. Steven L. Barrett

Hon. Nicholas J. Iacovetta

Hon. Joseph R. Glownia

Hon Larry D. Martin

Hon. John J. Ark

Hon. James J. Piampiano

Hon. Antonio I. Brandveen

Hon. Jeffrey S. Brown

Hon. Stephen A. Bucaria

Hon. Thomas Feinman

Hon. Lucy A. Billings

Hon. Kathryn E. Freed

Hon. Robert D. Kalish

Hon. Joan A. Madden

Hon. Alan C. Marin

Hon. Michael J. Obus

Hon. Anthony J. Paris

Hon. Norman W. Seiter

Hon. Joseph J. Esposito

Hon. Maureen A. Healy

Hon. Bernice D. Siegal

Hon. Richard Lance Buchter

Hon. Daniel Lewis

Hon. Ira H. Margulis

Hon. Raymond J. Elliott, III

Hon. Orlando Marrazzo, Jr.

Hon. Stephen J. Lynch

Hon. Vincent J. Martorana

Hon. Robert F. Quinlan

Hon. Lawrence H. Ecker

Hon. William J. Giacomo

Hon. Bruce E. Tolbert

Hon. Thomas A. Adams