Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / News / Government State / Candidates vie for spot on state Supreme Court bench

Candidates vie for spot on state Supreme Court bench

One race voters will decide today is for state Supreme Court, 7th judicial district. A total of eight candidates, including three who are current judges in other courts, are running for four openings.

Terms on the Supreme Court are 14 years. The 7th District includes Monroe, Cayuga, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates counties.

Running for office are: the Hon. Craig J. Doran, Deborah A. Indivino, Joanne Leegant, Matthew D. Nafus, the Hon. James J. Piampiano, Judy Sinclair, Judge Bill Taylor and Ella Van Loon.

The Hon. Craig J. Doran

Current occupation: Ontario County Court Judge

Town, city or village of residence: Canandaigua

Party Affiliations: Republican, Conservative, Independence, Working Families, Reform Party

Judicial Qualification Ratings: Monroe County Bar Association: Highly qualified; Rochester Black Bar Association: Highly Qualified and Highly Sensitive; Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys: Exceptionally Well Qualified and Commended.

Admitted to the Bar: 1990

Judge Craig J. Doran has been an acting Supreme Court Justice, presiding over Criminal Court, Family Court and Supreme Court, in our region, since 2000. In 2006, he was appointed Supervising Judge of Family Courts in the Seventh Judicial District. In 2011, he was appointed Administrative Judge of the Seventh Judicial District, making him the chief supervisor of all courts in our eight-county region. He has also been presiding judge of Drug Treatment Courts. He has been a member of the NYS Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, and the Child Welfare Court Improvement Committee. Judge Doran was recently named Co-Chair of the state Juvenile Justice Strategic Planning Advisory Committee.

A lifelong resident of Canandaigua, Judge Doran graduated from Canandaigua Academy in 1982, then from SUNY Albany, magna cum laude, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and Communications. In 1989, he received his Juris Doctor Degree from Albany Law School, cum laude, where he served as an editor of the Albany Law Review, authoring an article on the effects of government regulations upon the rights of landowners.  In 1994, he was elected to represent New York State’s 129th Assembly District in the State Legislature, where he served until 1999.

Deborah A. Indivino

Current occupation: Attorney in Spencerport

Town, city or village of residence: Greece

Party Affiliations: Democratic

Judicial Qualification Ratings:

Admitted to the Bar: 1980

I have been a practicing attorney for 35 years, working both in the private sector and in the public sector for 6 years in the Corporation Counsel Office of the City of Rochester. I have been in my present office in Spencerport for 25 years. My practice consists of Family Law, Domestic Relations Law, real estate and wills. I have extensive experience in Supreme Court, Family Court and Surrogate’s Court. I also am an Attorney for the Child and served as guardian ad litem in Family and Surrogate’s Court.

I grew up on the west side of the City of Rochester, where my mother still lives. I attended St. John Fisher College, graduating in 1976, and then attended the University of Dayton School of Law, graduating in 1979. I am involved with the UD alumni association in Rochester and sit on the Board of the Notre Dame Learning Center, run by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, who tutor city school children in Math, English and Reading at a nominal fee.

UD’s motto is “Learn, lead, serve.” If elected, I will strive to achieve that every day on behalf of all persons who appear before me. Thank you.

Joanne Leegant

Current occupation: Partner at Egger and Leegant

Town, city or village of residence: Brighton

Party Affiliations: Democratic

Judicial Qualification Ratings:

Admitted to the Bar: 1985

I am a partner with Egger and Leegant. My husband, Jan Egger, is my partner. We closed our downtown office in April, 2014 and are completing our remaining personal injury cases from our home office. For over 20 years, we did trial work, mostly negligence defense. Becoming a State Supreme Court Justice would be a wonderful way to finish my legal career.

Matthew D. Nafus

Current occupation: Law office of Matthew D. Nafus, Scottsville

Town, city or village of residence: Brighton

Party Affiliations: Democratic, Working Families

Judicial Qualification Ratings: Monroe County Bar Association: highly qualified; Greater Rochester Association of Women Attorneys: well qualified; Rochester Black Bar Association: highly qualified.

Admitted to the Bar: 1992

The Hon. James J. Piampiano

Current occupation: Monroe County Court judge and acting Supreme Court justice

Town, city or village of residence: Pittsford

Party Affiliations: Republican, Conservative, Independence, Reform

Judicial Qualification Ratings:

Admitted to the Bar: 1978

Judy Sinclair

Current occupation: attorney

Town, city or village of residence: Greece

Party Affiliations: Republican, Conservative, Independence, Reform, Working Families

Judicial Qualification Ratings: Monroe County Bar Association: Qualified

Rochester Black Bar Association: Qualified

Admitted to the Bar: 1991

I, Judy Sinclair, am a candidate for NYS Supreme Court in the 7th J.D. on the Republican, Conservative, Working Families, Independence and Reform Party lines.  I am very proud that so many political parties are supporting me.  I graduated from Albany Law School in 1990.  For the past 24 years, I have been representing people in both civil and criminal matters.  I have handled thousands of cases and have had over 500 criminal trials.  I have practiced as a trial attorney in many of the counties in Central and Western New York.  In addition I have represented people on a variety of civil matters such as in matrimonial, business, collection, and real estate matters.  I spend a good deal of my free time giving back to the community.  My community activities include being a Girl Scout Leader, Odyssey of the Mind coach and manager of a travel soccer team.   I am running for Supreme Court because I believe that good judges, ones that are firm and fair, can improve our community as well as make it safe.  I will always listen, be respectful, be fair but I will also be firm.  I am Judy Sinclair and I would appreciate your vote.

Judge Bill Taylor

Current occupation: Pittsford Town Justice, Acting Rochester City Court Judge, Deputy County Attorney

Town, city or village of residence: Pittsford

Party Affiliations: Republican, Conservative, Independence, Working Families, Reform

Judicial Qualification Ratings: New York Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission: Highly Qualified; Monroe County Bar Association: Qualified; Greater Rochester Association of Women Attorneys: Qualified; Rochester Black Bar Association: Highly Qualified.

Admitted to the Bar: 2002

I am running for New York State Supreme Court and hope to earn your support. As a judge I have presided over thousands of criminal and civil cases, and hope to put my judicial experience to work for you. Before I became a judge I was a prosecutor at the District Attorney’s Office, the County’s chief civil attorney and a law clerk at the highest state and federal courts in New York. Thanks to this wide range of experience, I have been rated Highly Qualified for Supreme Court, endorsed by law enforcement, and endorsed by five different political parties.

One thing all these organizations agree upon is that selecting good judges is about experience and qualifications, and I hope you will join them in choosing to support me, Judge Bill Taylor, for State Supreme Court. I also want to take this opportunity to tell you why I want to be a Supreme Court judge. As a judge I am able to use the law and common sense to solve peoples’ problems, and try to make a positive difference in our community. I understand the difference a good judge can make in people’s lives.

I was raised with simple values. Work hard. Be honest. And always do the right thing. Those are the things I do as a judge. Those are the values my wife and I teach our four children. And those are the things I will do for you and your family if I earn your vote for Supreme Court.

Ella Van Loon

Current occupation: Of Counsel, Van Loon Menard

Town, city or village of residence: Irondequoit

Party Affiliations: Democratic

Judicial Qualification Ratings: (not rated)

Admitted to the Bar: 2003.

Judges have the unique privilege to be able to touch so many people’s lives often during their most difficult times. I seek your support in becoming the next Supreme Court Justice because deciding who should serve in such a critical role is of the utmost importance.

I have devoted my legal career helping the most vulnerable in society; victims of domestic violence, elder abuse and children who have been abused, neglected and whose families are in turmoil and transition. As a former Assistant District Attorney, I requested to be in the Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Bureau and was the only prosecutor assigned to handle elder abuse cases. My career path led to the Legal Aid Society of Rochester where I practiced exclusively as an Attorney for Children. I represented hundreds of children in abuse, neglect, custody, visitation, juvenile delinquencies and PINS cases. Since 2010, I have been in private practice assisting families in Supreme and Family Courts. Throughout my career, I have lectured for bar associations, taught the Rochester Police Department’s recruit class and have been a guest speaker on WXXI Connections.

If I am elected, I will bring my experience, compassion and dedication to serve all that appear before me.

 

 Editor’s note: Responses were from the candidates. If an answer wasn’t given, the candidate either chose not to answer, or did not respond to the reporter’s questions.