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 Press Center - N.Y. State Courts
Communications Office:
David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
(212) 428-2500

Date: April 16, 2003

Seal of the Unified Court System
Commission to Foster Public Confidence in
State's Elected Judges and the Electoral Process
NEW YORK - Seeking to foster public trust and confidence in the state's judiciary and address concerns that judicial elections are being conducted in ways that threaten the independence and impartiality of judges, Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye has appointed the Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections. The 29-member panel, chaired by John Feerick, former Dean of Fordham Law School and Chair of the New York State Commission on Government Integrity, will survey the current landscape of judicial elections in New York and make recommendations for improvement.

Chief Judge Kaye stated, "Public confidence in the judicial system is eroded when election contests appear inconsistent with what we value most in judges - independence, impartiality and fairness, and it is our state's judges who feel the backlash most acutely. I have charged the Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections, headed by the esteemed John Feerick, with a broad mandate: to provide New York's courts with a blueprint for preserving the dignity of judicial elections and promoting meaningful voter participation, which will serve to reaffirm public trust in our judiciary. I thank Chairman Feerick and all the Commission members for their willingness to contribute their talents and time to helping New York State address the unique challenges associated with judicial elections and look forward to their findings."

Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman said, "The Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections is composed of members who possess a keen knowledge of the elective process and represent a diverse cross-section of the state both geographically and politically. It includes elected judges who have been through the process, can speak to developments that affect the public's perception of the judiciary, and can offer valuable insights on how to bolster public confidence in the courts."

The Commission will examine the judicial elective process in New York, including campaign conduct by candidates for judicial office, the possibility of public financing of judicial campaigns in the context of the state's current fiscal situation, the need for additional ethics protocols and disclosure requirements regarding campaign contributions and expenditures, and the creation of nonpartisan voter guides that inform the public about the background and qualifications of judicial candidates.

Commission Chair John Feerick said, "The Judiciary is at the core of American society - its soul, in a very real sense. The opportunity for this commission to make a contribution to its continued enhancement is enormous. I look forward to working with the distinguished group chosen by the Chief Judge for membership on the commission. We have an important challenge, and I have no doubt that this commission will meet that challenge."

Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections
  Membership Roster

John Feerick, Esq.
Leonard F. Manning Professor of Law
Fordham University School of Law
New York, NY
Hon. Rolando T. Acosta
Justice of the Supreme Court
First Judicial District
Harlem Community Court
New York, NY

Lenore Banks
League of Women Voters of New York State
Amherst, NY

Helaine M. Barnett, Esq.
The Legal Aid Society
Attorney-in-Charge, Civil Division
New York, NY

Richard J. Bartlett, Esq.
Bartlett Pontiff Stewart & Rhodes, PC
Glens Falls, NY

Eve Burton, Esq.
Vice President and General Counsel
The Hearst Corporation

Kathy Hirata Chin, Esq.
Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft
New York, NY

Hon. Barry A. Cozier
Associate Justice
Appellate Division, Second Department
White Plains, NY

Evan Davis, Esq.
Cleary Gottlieb & Hamilton
New York, NY

Dolores Fredrich, Esq.
Vice President for Legal Affairs
and General Counsel
Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY

George Friedman, Esq.
Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edleman & Dicker
New York, NY

Nicole A. Gordon, Esq.
Executive Director
New York City Campaign Finance Board
New York, NY

Stewart F. Hancock, Jr., Esq.
Hancock & Estabrook, LLP
Syracuse, NY

Hon. Allen Hurkin-Torres
Justice of the Supreme Court
Second Judicial District
Brooklyn, NY

Michael Klein, Esq.
Supreme Court
Onondaga County Courthouse
Syracuse, NY

Hon. James J. Lack
New York Court of Claims
Hauppauge, NY
Craig Landy, Esq.
Landy & Seymour
New York, NY

Hon. George Marlow
Associate Judge
Appellate Division, First Department
Poughkeepsie, NY

James M. McGuire, Esq.
Former Counsel to Governor George E. Pataki
Albany, NY

Francis T. Murphy, Esq.
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
New York, NY

Hon. Judith F. O'Shea
Administrative Judge
Sixth Judicial District
Elmira, NY

Basil A. Paterson, Esq.
Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C.
Mineola, NY

Hon. Renee R. Roth
New York County
New York, NY

Patricia Salkin, Esq.
Associate Dean and Director
Government Law Center of Albany Law School
Albany, NY

Thomas Schwarz, Esq.
Purchase College, SUNY
Purchase, NY

Toko Serita, Esq.
Executive Assistant to
Administrative Judge Steven W. Fisher
Jamaica, NY

Hon. Robert A. Spolzino
Justice of the Supreme Court
Ninth Judicial District
Westchester County Courthouse
White Plains, NY

Judith Toyer, Esq.
Eastman Kodak Co.
Rochester, NY