2001-10-13 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

Chatting With Chapey by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

On Thursday October 4, 2001, the Queens Democratic Judicial Convention was held at Antuns. Eugene Pasternak, my husband and I are elected members of the Convention.  The purpose of the convention is to select judges for the Supreme Court who will run in November for election.

Congressman Thomas Manton, our county leader, consults with various leaders in Queens County to receive their input. The nominating committee reviews the resume of each candidate and makes its recommendations. This year the Queens Democratic Judicial Convention is recommending four Democrats and one Republican to fill the five vacancies.

I am very pleased that two of the nominees are colleagues with whom I have worked very closely - Justice Martin Ritholtz and Justice Peter O'Donoghue.

Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer nominated Martin Ritholtz. Audrey stated "I am honored to nominate Martin Ritholtz for Justice of the Supreme Court. Marty has served as a Civil Court Judge and now is serving as acting Supreme Court Justice. Marty's knowledge of the law is respected by both his fellow judges and the lawyers who appear before him.  Marty serves with compassion, integrity and fairness.  Marty and his family are not only neighbors "but I am also proud to call them my friends".

It was my pleasure to second the nomination of Justice Martin Ritholtz. As I pointed out "Justice Martin Ritholtz has an outstanding judicial temperament. He is well known for having integrity, honesty and fairness in his judicial decisions. He has served us proudly in the Civil Court and will continue his outstanding record in the Supreme Court."

Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and I were selected to escort Justice Martin Ritholtz to the dais.

Justice Ritholtz addressed the convention noting that he was very privileged to serve as a delegate to the Democratic Judicial Convention for the 11th judicial district from 1982 to 1987. He encouraged everyone to be active in their community. Marty praised the stellar and inspirational leadership of our county leader, Congressman Tom Manton. He also thanked Audrey Pheffer for her friendship and support. He introduced his soul mate, Anne and his children, Racquel, Zalli, Baruch, Natan and his son-in-law Joey.

Marty reflected on the recent crisis in the World Trade Center. He reminded us that this was an assault on our system of democracy and our system of justice. The Twin Towers fell but our national pride has risen to heights never realized before.

Justice Peter O'Donoghue is another friend who was nominated. Peter is following in his father’s tradition of serving on the bench. Peter told an anecdote about his family. Some years ago he had taken his three children to work on a campaign. He explained to his children that as youngsters his father had brought them to work on campaigns. One of his children looked up and said - Daddy you had fifteen brothers and sisters and there are only three of us.

Justice O'Donoghue is a Civil Court Judge who happens to be blind. He is an energetic and enthusiastic person. He has an extensive knowledge of the law. He is well known among his colleagues for possessing a true sense of justice. Peter will follow in his own excellent tradition of giving exemplary service to the Supreme Court.

The other judges who were selected were Sidney Strauss and Duane Hart. While I have not had the pleasure of working with them personally, they are very highly recommended, competent individuals who will work to make our judicial system outstanding.

Joan Durant, a Republican, was also recommended by our Queens Democratic Judicial Convention. Joan has served as a judge for twenty-eight years. She was unanimously elected for a third term.  Among the highlights of her career was one case where she saved a Fire Company on Queens Boulevard that had been scheduled to close. Saving this ladder company was a major benefit to the neighborhood. Judge Durant held several days of hearings - pro and con on ladder company matters before she issued her decision.

This years nominees are excellent choices who will appear on the ballot in November. Please be sure to give them your consideration when you go to vote.


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