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Judge Marks to step down after 25 years

Judge Patricia D. Marks, who is retiring from the Monroe County Court bench effective Dec. 31 — four years before her term is up, is not giving up on law. She plans to keep busy working on numerous committes and commissions and possibly doing some consulting work. Daily Record file photo by Vasiliy Baziuk.

Monroe County Court Judge Patricia D. Marks is leaving the bench after 25 years.

Marks, who is also supervising judge of the criminal courts in the Seventh Judicial District, plans to retire effective Dec. 31, four years before her term expires.

She cited family reasons, although not exclusively, and said “the lack of a raise in over 12 years makes it an easy financial decision.”

Judge Marks said the decision has been a work in progress. She plans to remain with the New York State Criminal Jury Instructions Committee, which she co-chairs, and the Permanent Sentencing Commission she was appointed to in October by New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman. Judge Marks said she may also do some consulting work with areas involving treatment courts through various national agencies.

“Judge Marks is an institution at the Hall of Justice,” said the Hon. Thomas M. Van Strydonck, administrative judge of the Seventh Judicial District. “She’s been here for 20 plus years as a judge and before that, she was an assistant district attorney. She will be missed by everyone and it will be hard to replace her as a supervising judge.”

He said the governor will appoint someone to fill the vacancy and state Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau will name a supervising judge after consulting with the Hon. Henry J. Scudder, presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, which includes the seventh, fifth and eighth judicial districts.

“I thank Judge Marks for her leadership, her guidance and her innovation for so many years in the Seventh Judicial District,” said Judge Pfau. “She will be sorely missed and I wish her the very best in her future endeavors.”

David Bookstaver, director of communications for the Unified Court System, said the process to replace Judge Marks is just getting under way.

He said Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Michael V. Coccoma, will select a candidate who will then be approved by Judge Pfau after consulting with Judge Scudder.

The departure of Judge Marks leaves the county court with only one judge with more than one year of experience because Judge Richard A. Keenan is also retiring at the end of the year. Judge John J. Connell died in May.

Remaining are Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr., who has been on the court since 1999 after serving six years as Rochester City Court judge, and Judge John L. De Marco, who joined the court in January after being elected last fall. Judge De Marco also served as Irondequoit town justice from 2001 through 2009.

They will be joined in January by newly elected town justices Vicki Argento of East Rochester; Vincent M. Dinolfo, Irondequoit; and James J. Piampiano, Henrietta.

“I’m sure we’ll feel the impact of losing the experience of Judge Keenan and Judge Marks,” Judge Van Strydonck said. “The three judges that were elected this fall have all had experience as town court judges and should all be ready to start their new assignments and should be all up and running quickly.”

When Judge Marks leaves, Judge Geraci will become the lone Democrat.

“She’ll certainly be missed,” Judge Geraci said of Judge Marks. “Her work ethic has been outstanding. Not only was she responsible for the administration of the courts, but she continued to handle trials as well. She’s been very supportive of the judges in this district and has served the community very well.”

Judge Marks, a 1974 graduate of Albany Law School of Union University, began her legal career as a legal assistant with the Monroe County Department of Social Services where she worked until 1976 when she joined the district attorney’s office.

She was first elected to the county court in 1984 and has been serving as supervising judge since her 1994 appointment by Judge Lippman.

Judge Marks also presides over the Judicial Diversion Program and Veterans Court which she created. She also played a key role in establishing the Monroe County Mental Health Court.

In addition, Judge Marks is the author of 27 published legal decisions and several New York State Bar Journal articles.

She serves on committees and boards related to improving the court system including Pretrial Services Corporation, Legal Links, Public Safety Sector TQM Committee and Mental Health and the Courts and EDP response team advisory committee.

She has also been involved with educational and cultural exchanges with Russian colleagues on the bench and bar since 2002 through the Russian American Rule of Law Consortium.