Judge Donald J. Mark on Saturday received the Monroe County Magistrates Association’s 2015 James E. Morris Award at its annual dinner on Saturday at The City Grill in Rochester.
Judge Mark, who has been a judge in state Supreme Court, County Court and Penfield Town Court, was notably the trial judge in People v. Dunaway, a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court; his decision was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Dunaway v. New York.
“To our defense attorneys present here tonight, next time you request a Dunaway hearing, recall that Judge Mark was the trial judge in that landmark case,” said Penfield Town Justice James Mulley, in remarks given at the event.
Judge Mark joined the firm of Pappalardo, Roth and Rena and was admitted to the state bar in 1953. He was a Penfield Town Court justice from 1964 to 1973, and a County Court judge from 1974 to 1983. He was elected to state Supreme Court in 1983.
At Penfield Town court, Judge Mark oversaw an in camera suppression hearing in the matter of the People v. Rossi and Gingello, to determine if information sought by the defense was confidential and could not be redacted. Judge Mark’s ruling that it was confidential and not redactable was affirmed by the state Court of Appeals 4 to 3.
“He has not forgotten his Penfield roots,” said Justice Mulley. “Judge Mark regularly participates in the swearing in ceremony of our elected officials. He has sworn Supervisor Tony LaFountain in as an elected official 12 times, and has promised to swear him in for the 13th time next January.”
Judge Mark also served the United States as a Marine in World War II. He enlisted in 1944, and participated in the invasion of Okinawa on April 1, 1945. He also served in China. He returned to the United States and was discharged in 1946.
After the war, Judge Mark worked several jobs, attended Syracuse University and Cornell Law. After attending Cornell Law for a year, he was recalled to active duty and was stationed at Fort Lejeune in North Carolina, where he performed non-lawyer legal duties.
The award is named after Judge James E. Morris, who served as Brighton Town Justice for 33 years and is a past president of the Monroe County Magistrates Association and the New York State Magistrates Association.