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Martin H. Brownstein gave the impression earlier this week of a man in a hurry. He briskly escorted a visitor into his Brooklyn office, summarily dispatched a telephone caller who lacked urgency and replied to questions at a rapid-fire pace approaching the legal speed limit. And in a hurry he was, for in less than 72 hours he would officially leave his post as Clerk of the Appellate Division, Second Department, ending a 29-year tour of duty with New York’s busiest appellate court, the last 13 as its top administrative official. Brownstein was required to finish his duties and turn out the lights by midnight on Wednesday in order to meet the deadline for an incentive retirement program for state employees, making room for his successor, James E. Pelzer, a veteran court attorney who was formerly the supervisor of the decisions department. In meeting the deadline, it became the cementing step in a life style change that he and his wife Susan had been planning for a number of years: leaving a city that is the very personification of urban living for a new home on the outskirts of Tucson, Ariz., on the fringes of a desert.

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