Almost Half of Judge Candidates Unqualified to Run, Says NY Bar


Nearly half the candidates running for city judgeships in this year’s general election on November 2 are unqualified to run, the New York City Bar Association said yesterday. Of the 34 candidates running in the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, 15 are unqualified by the Bar’s reckoning (There are no vacancies in Staten Island).

Judge candidates don’t need Bar approval to run or to win, and as we showed in a cover story (see the image) last year, even “unqualified” candidates can turn out to be effective judges.

Still, the Bar’s not high on many of this year’s crop. In Brooklyn, the Bar says both candidates running for Civil Court are unqualified. Of the nine candidates running for Kings County Supreme Court, six are considered unqualified.

Former JP Morgan exec and GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rick Lazio was found to be qualified to run for Bronx County Supreme Court.

The Bar Association’s annual list of ratings for local judicial candidates is serious business. After the candidates fill out a detailed questionnaire and submit it to a panel of 50 lawyers, the panel investigates the candidate through telephone interviews with “references, adversaries, and other appropriate contacts.” The Bar also “reviews writing samples and researches any past disciplinary actions.”

Check out if a judge running in your borough gets a seal of approval from the Bar:

Bronx County

Supreme Court

Rick A. Lazio – Approved
Thomas V. Ognibene – Not approved
Edgar G. Walker – Approved

Civil Court (1st District)

Joseph E. Capella – Approved

Civil Court (2nd District)

Linda Poust Lopez – Approved
Daniel Szalkiewicz – Not approved

Kings County

Supreme Court

Sylvia G. Ash – Approved
James P. Domagalski – Not approved
Deborah A. Dowling – Approved
Elon Harpaz – Not approved
Francois A. Rivera – Not approved
Kenneth D. Schaeffer – Not approved
Giovanni P. Silvagni – Not approved
Jeffrey S. Sunshine – Approved
Amy S. Young – Not approved

Civil Court (Countywide)

Vincent F. Martusciello – Not approved
Harriet L. Thompson – Not approved

Civil Court (7th District)

Betty Williams – Approved

New York County

Supreme Court

Karin M. Burke – Not approved
Matthew F. Cooper – Approved
George G. Janis – Not approved
Cynthia S. Kern – Approved
Jodi A. Mosiello – Not approved
Jeffrey K. Oing – Approved

Civil Court (Countywide)

David B. Cohen – Approved
Michael L. Katz – Approved
Leticia M. Ramirez – Approved

Civil Court (1st District)

Carol R. Feinman – Approved
Joan M. Kenney – Not approved

Civil Court (5th District)

Kelly O’Neill Levy – Approved

Civil Court (9th District)

Gerald Lebovits – Approved

Queens County

Surrogate’s Court

Peter J. Kelly – Approved

Civil Court (Countywide)

Dennis Lebwohl – Not approved
Barry A. Schwartz – Approved

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