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Surrogate Candidates to Examine Discounted Ballots With Civil Court Judge Margarita Lopez Torres clinging to a 118-vote lead over Justice Diana A. Johnson in the Democratic primary for Brooklyn surrogate, Supreme Court Justice Leslie Leach has ruled that he will allow the parties to argue that some 1,700 ballots that were not counted by the Board of Elections should have been included in the tally. Also, Justice Leach will examine about 150 paper ballots that one side or the other previously objected to. Of those, about 65 were not counted. The parties will be back in court Oct. 11 before Justice Leach, who was named by Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman to hear any challenges to the tally within New York City. � Daniel Wise Correction An article yesterday, “Jury Convicts Norman of Election Violations,” misidentified the judge from whom Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes secured a bribery plea. He is Victor I. Barron. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Richard D. Huttner agreed this summer to resign from the bench at the end of the year after being censured for the second time in four years. New Ground Added to Massive Tobacco Settlement The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit yesterday added a new ground that three tobacco companies can assert to attack a key provision in the $206 billion settlement reached in 1998 between the nation’s four largest cigarette manufacturers and 46 states. The agreement obligated the four largest companies � which then produced nearly 98 percent of the cigarettes sold nationally � and others who later joined the pact, to fund the settlement. The three cigarette companies, all of whom have not joined the settlement, attacked a provision imposing a similar obligation on all non-participating companies by requiring them to pay two cents on each cigarette sold into an escrow fund depending upon the state in which the cigarette was sold. A unanimous opinion written by the circuit’s chief judge, John M. Walker, concluded that the three companies could pursue a Commerce Clause argument in challenging the escrow requirement, which the settlement required all 46 states to adopt. The challengers should have the chance to prove that the escrow requirement created a “uniform system of regulation that results in higher prices,” Judge Walker wrote. Earlier, Southern District Judge John F. Keenan ruled that the three companies could challenge the requirement as violating antitrust law. Grand River Enterprises Six Nations v. Pryor , 03-9179, will be published Tuesday. � Daniel Wise Federal Court Practitioners to Be Sworn In Attorneys newly admitted to practice in the Second Circuit will be publicly sworn in at a Nov. 15 ceremony. In the past, attorneys applied in writing for admission and received their acceptances in writing. The ceremony will be followed by a reception, giving the lawyers a chance to mingle with judges. The ceremony and reception will be held at 4 p.m. on the 17th floor of the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Foley Square. The new deadline for applications is Oct. 10. Comment Sought on Bench Nominees The Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a public hearing to receive information concerning the fitness of the following candidates who are nominees for appointment by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg: Interim Civil Court Judge Miriam R. Best, Criminal Court; Alexander Jeong, Criminal Court; Toko Serita, Criminal Court; Criminal Court Judge Douglas E. Hoffman, Family Court; Robert D. Kalish, Civil Court. The hearing will be at 9 a.m. on Oct. 7 at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, 40 Rector Street, 6th floor. A concise written, signed statement of any information or testimony intended for presentation must be received by the committee no later than 10 a.m. Oct. 6. Statements should be sent to Executive Director Desir�e Kim, 36 West 44th Street, Suite 1408, New York, N.Y., 10036, or faxed to 212-768-4115.

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