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Traficanti to Leave Bench to Consult on International Projects Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Joseph J. Traficanti Jr., who has been overseeing courts outside of New York City since 1991, will leave the bench in May to become a consultant on the legal systems in Russia and Armenia. Judge Traficanti also has been in charge of setting up drug treatment courts throughout the state for the past four years. Since 2001, 114 courts have been set up to provide treatment and social services to non-violent addicts accused of misdemeanors, felonies and family offenses. Judge Traficanti, 61, was elected to the bench in 1982 as Ulster County Surrogate, and he continues to handle guardianships and adoptions. In his first two consulting jobs, he will advise a U.S. Agency for International Development program in Russia on commercial courts and alternate dispute resolution. The Armenian initiative, a World Bank project, will involve developing measures to improve court administration. � Daniel Wise Trial of Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Begins The drunken-driving case against Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Donna Mills began yesterday afternoon after jury selection was completed. Justice Mills was arrested in July 2002 after she allegedly drove into two parked cars in a Bronx parking lot. She was also originally charged with criminal mischief, but that charge was dismissed by Criminal Court Judge Judith S. Lieb, according to a spokesman for the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. Justice Mills is represented by Paul T. Gentile. � Tom Perrotta Court-Appointed Conservator Charged in Theft A court-appointed conservator was arrested and charged yesterday with stealing $70,000 from his 66-year-old mentally ill ward, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced. Marvin Wolf, 69, who now lives in Florida, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, Mr. Brown said. Last October, Mr. Brown empaneled a special grand jury to examine weaknesses in the system the courts use for appointing guardians and conservators to handle the assets and affairs of those unable to care for themselves. Mr. Brown empaneled the grand jury after a Long Island City lawyer, Robert B. Kress, admitted to stealing $2.1 million from 14 wards. One major weakness identified by the grand jury was the failure of court examiners, who are also appointed by the courts, to exercise vigilant oversight of the work of guardians and conservators. But in the case of Mr. Wolf, Mr. Brown said, it was a court examiner who uncovered a problem and helped bring it to the attention of the authorities. � Daniel Wise Lawyer Charged With Grand Larceny A Hempstead attorney who prosecutors say embezzled almost $38,000 from a client in a property transaction was arraigned yesterday in Nassau County District Court. Rodney Batts, 61, allegedly took a $46,000 check intended as a down payment from buyers who were purchasing his client’s home and spent much of that money on personal expenses. At the closing, less than $9,000 was left in the client’s escrow account. Mr. Batts is charged with third-degree grand larceny, punishable by up to 7 years in prison. � Leigh Jones Southern District Civil Division Relocates The Civil Division of the Southern District of New York has moved to a new location. The division’s new address is 86 Chambers Street, New York, N.Y. 10007. Its main telephone number remains (212) 637-2800, and all individual office numbers remain the same. Effective immediately, however, service of papers in all civil cases involving the United States and its agencies and employees filed in the Southern District, as well as in all state courts in the Southern District, will be accepted by the Civil Division on the 3rd floor of its 86 Chambers Street offices.

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