Porter Kirkwood

Porter Kirkwood will become the first African-American to serve as district executive of the Sixth Judicial District, Administrative Judge Molly Fitzgerald said Friday.

Kirkwood, who has been a court attorney-referee in the district since 2017, will start in the new position next week. It’s the senior-most nonjudicial position in the district, which encompasses Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga and Tompkins counties.

Fitzgerald said Kirkwood’s experience in the district and state court system prepared him for the role.

“Mr. Kirkwood is a talented attorney whose skills and knowledge of the courts and court operations make him ideally suited to fulfill the multiple demands of this important assignment,” Fitzgerald said. “The Sixth Judicial District is fortunate to have a candidate with Mr. Kirkwood’s level of expertise, dedication and integrity. I look forward to working closely with him in his new capacity as District Executive.”

In his position as court attorney-referee, Kirkwood assisted justices on a wide variety of civil cases, including residential foreclosures, contractual disputes and divorce matters.

He was also the district’s liaison for the implementation of the “Raise the Age” legislation, which raised the adult age of criminal responsibility in New York from 16 to 17 last year. The second phase of the law will raise the age to 18 statewide in October.

Kirkwood was previously Delaware County Attorney, where he was among the founders of the county’s Criminal Drug Treatment and Family Treatment Court. He was the legal adviser to the county’s board of supervisors in the position as well.

The Hofstra University School of Law graduate worked at several firms on Long Island early in his career. Kirkwood replaces Gregory Gates, who retired as district executive late last year.

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