Democratic voters will select candidates in four contested races for New York City Civil Court tomorrow in what has been a generally low-key primary season.
The only other contested judicial race is in Manhattan, where Acting Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe (See Profile) and Judge Rita Mella (See Profile) are vying to replace Kristen Booth Glen (See Profile), who has reached the mandatory retirement age of 70, as one of the borough’s two surrogates (NYLJ, Aug. 27).
Lisa Sokoloff, 46, faces Olga Statz, 47, for the nod for Civil Court in Manhattan’s Third Municipal District. The seat was held by Judge Diane Lebedeff until her retirement at the end of last year.
Statz is principal law clerk to Brooklyn Surrogate Margarita López Torres (See Profile). Sokoloff, a former president of the New York Women’s Bar Association, is a practitioner specializing in matrimonial, medical malpractice and commercial cases.
There are two Democratic Civil Court primaries in Brooklyn.
Lara Genovesi, 40, and Richard Montelione, 57, are vying for the First District seat held until recently by Judge Sarah Krauss.
Charles Finkelstein, 48, Theresa Ciccotto, 52, and Steven Mostofsky, 54, are in a three-way contest to win the nomination for Brooklyn’s Fifth District seat previously held by Justice Rachel Adams (See Profile).
Adams won election in 2011 to Supreme Court. Krauss resigned from the Civil Court effective June 29.
Genovesi’s father, Anthony Genovesi, was Brooklyn Democratic chairman and a state assemblyman when he died in 1998 in a car accident. Lara Genovesi is principal law clerk to Justice Jeffrey Sunshine (See Profile), the supervising judge for matrimonial matters in Brooklyn Supreme Court. Montelione specializes in estate and consumer law.
Finkelstein, a private attorney, was formerly a felony prosecutor in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and an assistant special narcotics prosecutor in Brooklyn. Mostofsky is a private attorney specializing in family law who was formerly president of the National Council of Young Israel. Ciccotto is an associate court attorney for the New York City Civil Court.
In the Bronx’s Second District, Democrats Eddie McShan, 44, and Juana Valentin, 54, are competing to succeed Judge Raul Cruz, who is retiring at the end of the year. McShan is a special referee for the Supreme Court in Bronx County presiding over matrimonial matters. Valentin is Cruz’s court attorney.
The winner of the McShan-Valentin race will face David Szalkiewicz, who has the Republican and Conservative nominations, in November.
Fifteen other Civil Court vacancies will be filled this November, but the candidates for those seats have no primary opposition.
However, tomorrow’s primary will set the stage for another round of judicial candidate selections.
Voters throughout the state will select delegates for the judicial nominating conventions where candidates for Supreme Court will be designated. Prospective delegates, who are selected by Assembly districts, are picked by party leaders and are rarely opposed.
The delegates must meet between Sept. 18 and Sept. 24 to select their parties’ Supreme Court candidates.
There are 30 openings for state Supreme Court this year due to resignation, retirement, death and other reasons, according to the Office of Court Administration.
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