By: Denise M. Champagne//May 15, 2012
By: Denise M. Champagne//May 15, 2012//
The nomination of Monroe County Court Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. is on its way to the Senate for the next step in the process of becoming a federal judge.
President Barack Obama on Monday nominated Geraci for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, along with Judge Fernando M. Olguin to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
“I am honored to put forward these highly qualified candidates for the federal bench,” Obama said in the release. “They will be distinguished public servants and valuable additions to the U.S. District Court.”
Geraci was recommended for nomination Feb. 9 by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-NY. He got word of the president’s action late Monday.
“I’m honored that the president and Sen. Schumer have shown confidence in my ability to perform this important function,” he said. “They indicated that everything is moving smoothly to date and the next step is to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
He said the FBI and American Bar Association have conducted their background checks in an expedited fashion.
A hearing will be scheduled before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, which can reject the nomination or forward it to the Senate for a full vote on confirmation.
Judge Geraci said the hearing is expected to be scheduled around late summer, before the Senate recesses.
“It’s quite a process, but I certainly respect that process,” he added.
Schumer, in his own statement, said he was “thrilled.” He said Judge Geraci has a stellar legal background, life-long ties to the region, even-handedness, temperament and that his demonstrated leadership skills will make him an excellent judge for the Western District Court.
“Judge Geraci’s first-rate legal mind, steadfast dedication to the professional administration of justice and deep knowledge of Monroe County and Western New York will make him an incredible judge for the federal bench,” Schumer said. “Judge Geraci has shown himself to be an outstanding legal professional through his service as a district and federal prosecutor, in addition to his 20 years as a city and county judge in Rochester.”
Judge Geraci grew up in Brighton where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton and University of Dayton Law School. As a young lawyer, Judge Geraci served Monroe County as a special assistant district attorney from 1978 to 1983. In the district attorney’s office, he was the chief of Special Investigations Bureau and chief of the DWI Bureau.
He later joined the Department of Justice as an assistant U.S. Attorney in New York’s Western District from 1983-1987, representing the federal government in civil and criminal litigation in the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. Judge Geraci was also assigned to the Organized Crime Drug Task Force in Rochester.
Judge Geraci also spent five years as a certified mediator and defense attorney, specializing in civil and criminal litigation in federal and state courts, real estate and collections. In November 1991, he was elected to a 10-year term as a Rochester City Court judge in the New York State Unified Court System, and seven years later, was elected to a 10-year term as a Monroe County Court judge and acting Supreme Court justice. He was re-elected in 2008 and presides over sex offender registrations, pistol permit applications, mental health hearings and uncontested divorces.
In addition, Judge Geraci has given back to his community in a number of ways, serving as an adjunct professor at St. John Fisher College for five years, founding the Rochester Teen Court, coaching Little League and, for the last decade, he has been an active member of the 9/11 Commemoration Committee.
Geraci is being nominated to fill a seat held by Judge David G. Larimer who has been on senior status since March 2009, although he still maintains a full-time schedule. Like Judge Larimer, Judge Geraci would sit in the federal court in Rochester, which could be left without any active judges if Judge Geraci is not confirmed by the end of the year when Judge Charles J. Siragusa will assume senior status. Judge Michael A. Telesca has been on senior status since May 1996.
Filling Judge Larimer’s seat is the only remaining “judicial emergency” left in the Second Circuit, which has nine vacancies; only one in the Western District of New York.
As of Tuesday, there were 77 judicial vacancies in the federal courts with 29 nominees pending.