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Pittsford attorney to run for Family Court judge


Pittsford attorney Jim Walsh announced his candidacy for Family Court judge Friday at Monroe County Republican Party headquarters at 460 State St. Mike Murphy

One is seeking his first spot on the bench. The other has been a judge for nearly a decade.

The race for two Monroe County Family Court judge seats is becoming clearer.

Pittsford attorney Jim Walsh on Friday announced his candidacy for Family Court. Family Court Judge Dandrea L. Ruhlmann, who was not at the announcement, is seeking re-election.

Walsh is running to replace Justice Gail Donofrio, who last November was elected to a full 14-year term on the state Supreme Court. Justice Donofrio had served as supervising judge of the Family Courts, Seventh Judicial District.

Walsh, who said he comes from a single-parent household and remembers struggling emotionally and financially, has been an attorney specializing in family and matrimonial law. He represents children through the Law Guardian/Attorneys for the Children Program.

The personal and legal experience will help make him a judge who will be fair and understanding to the children and families who would appear before him if elected, Walsh said.

“Families need someone on the bench who knows the law and practices in Family Court every day,” Walsh said.

Judge Ruhlmann, who began serving in 2004 and has served as judge of the Juvenile Delinquency Court since 2007, said she loves the work.

“I feel like I’m called to do it,” Judge Ruhlmann said. “I hope to continue doing it for another 10 years.”

Walsh is a former assistant district attorney who was assigned to represent victims of domestic violence and child abuse.

Walsh also served as counsel to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and was an instructor at several local colleges. He also was administrative hearing officer for the city’s Bureau of Parking and Municipal Code Violations.

As of Friday, Monroe County Democrats had not announced a candidate in the races.

Walsh, who was joined by his wife, Jean, and daughters, Erin and Shannon, said everything he would do as judge he does for them.

“He’s a family man for Family Court,” said County GOP Chairman Bill Reilich.

Judge Ruhlmann is a well-known, highly rated judge, Reilich said.