Communications Office:
David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
(212) 428-2500

Date: December 20, 2002

Seal of the Unified Court System
Hon. Sharon Townsend Named 8th District
Administrative Judge
NEW YORK - Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman today announced the appointment of Hon. Sharon S. Townsend as Administrative Judge for the Eighth Judicial District. The appointment was made with the approval of Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and in consultation with Hon. Eugene F. Pigott, Jr., the Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department.
Judge Townsend will become the first Family Court Judge to serve as a District Administrative Judge in the New York State courts. The selection of Judge Townsend followed an exhaustive screening process initiated by Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Joseph J. Traficanti, Jr., and a comprehensive assessment of the operational needs of the Eighth Judicial District. Judge Townsend has served as District-wide Supervising Judge of the Family Court over the past seven years, during which time she has functioned as an integral part of the Eighth District's administrative team.

Judge Lippman stated, "Judge Townsend has served with distinction for the past seven years as Supervising Judge of the Family Court in the Eighth District and is a proven leader and effective court administrator. She comes to this position with wisdom gained from 18 years as a judge, extensive managerial experience, a keen grasp of the law, and the respect and admiration of her colleagues. The many years she has served as a part of the administrative core of the Eighth Judicial District well equip her for her new role as Administrative Judge and should make the transition to this latest assignment seamless. I am grateful to Judge Townsend for accepting the new challenge and look forward to working with her in this new capacity."

The position of Eighth District Administrative Judge will become vacant at the end of this year when the current District Administrative Judge, Hon. Vincent E. Doyle, Jr., steps down from serving in that capacity.

Judge Lippman added, "I want to thank Judge Vincent Doyle for his outstanding service as Administrative Judge in the Eighth District for the last eight years. During Judge Doyle's tenure, countless new programs were initiated to enhance productivity and to improve the quality of justice for Eighth District residents. I applaud Justice Doyle for his long years of dedicated service to the court system and the public."

Judge Townsend was elected to the Erie County Family Court bench in 1991 after serving for seven years as Village Justice in the Village of Williamsville. She was appointed an Acting Supreme Court Justice in 1996 and took on the position of Supervising Judge of the Family Court for the Eighth Judicial District at that same time. Prior to her tenure on the bench, Judge Townsend had served in various capacities within the Buffalo legal community, including serving as counsel to the County Department of Social Services, a professor of family law at Medaille College, a court clerk for the Erie County Family Court and an associate attorney in private practice. Judge Townsend chairs the Office of Court Administration's Family Court Advisory and Rules Committee, founded  the Erie County Family Court Children's Center Advisory Committee, and is a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, the National Center for State Courts Family Violence Advisory Committee, the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Advisory Committee, the Office of Court Administration's Town and Village Judges Curriculum and Training Committee and the Children's Justice Task Force. A graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law, Judge Townsend was awarded the Erie County Bar Association's "Outstanding Jurist of the Year" award in 2001.

Judge Townsend's appointment is effective January 1, 2003.