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

Date: February 3, 2003

Seal of the Unified Court System
Appointments of Supervising Judges in the 8th
Judicial District
BUFFALO, NY - Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman today announced two new appointments within the Eighth Judicial District: Hon. Richard C. Kloch, Sr., as Supervising Judge of Criminal Courts and Hon. Michael F. Griffith as Supervising Judge of Family Courts. Both appointments were made with the approval of Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and in consultation with Presiding Justice Eugene F. Pigott, Jr., of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, as well as after discussions with the Administrative Judge for Courts Outside of New York City,  Joseph J. Traficanti, Jr., and the Administrative Judge for the Eighth District, Sharon S. Townsend. Both appointments are effective immediately.

Judge Townsend said, "Judge Kloch has nearly two decades of experience on the bench handling criminal matters and was instrumental in spearheading specialized court parts to focus on domestic violence cases and drug abuse cases when he presided over the City Court of North Tonawanda. He is highly respected within the legal community for his knowledge of the law, integrity and fairness. Judge Kloch has many innovative ideas to enhance processing of the criminal caseload and the wherewithal to see them through to fruition. I look forward to working with him in this regard."

Judge Townsend further stated, "Judge Griffith comes to this position recommended by his many years of judicial service in various courts and regions of western New York. As a long-time judge in Family Court, he is highly sensitive to the complex and delicate issues adjudicated in this court and will undoubtedly provide the skilled leadership necessary to achieve the goal of making Family Court more accessible to families and the general public. I am confident that Judge Griffith will be a great asset to court administration in the Eighth District and welcome him to this position."

A graduate of Toledo Law School and the University of Bridgeport, Judge Griffith has been a multi-jurisdictional judge in Wyoming County since 1992, handling County Court, Surrogate's Court and primarily Family Court matters. From 1984 to 1991, he served as the Wyoming County District Attorney, after several years as an Assistant Public Defender and while also conducting a private practice that emphasized family law. The position Judge Griffith takes as Supervising Judge of Family Courts was left vacant when Judge Sharon Townsend was appointed Administrative Judge for the Eighth District last month.

Judge Kloch, who takes the position of Supervising Judge of Criminal Courts following the retirement of Hon. Joseph P. McCarthy, first became a City Court Judge for North Tonawanda in 1986. He was subsequently appointed a Court of Claims Judge in June 2001 and served as an Acting Supreme Court Justice, handling criminal matters, after an extensive career in Western New York's legal community, including positions as assistant county attorney, city attorney, town attorney, counsel for the New York State Office of Drug Abuse Services and the general practice of law. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School.

Supreme Court Justice John P. Lane will continue as the Supervising Judge of the Civil Calendar for the Eighth District