Primary Might Determine Next Niagara Falls City Court Judge

Primary Day is Tuesday, September 12.

Because the race for Niagara City Court Judge, like all judicial races in New York State, allow candidates to run on all party lines, Tuesday’s primary may be more important in determining the next Niagara Falls City Court Judge, than the general election. Primary Day is Tuesday, Sept. 12.

This primary, like all primaries, will determine which candidate represent each political party. The winners of the primary will be on the ballot for the general election in November for the respective party line they win.

In Niagara Falls there are four City Court judges. They are elected for 10 year terms. The position pays $113,900 a year. There is one open seat this year.

There are three candidates vying for this seat, which is presently held by Judge Robert P. Merino, who turns 70 this year, reaching New York’s mandatory retirement age for city, county and state judges.

The three candidates are Alan Roscetti, James Faso and Nicholas Pelosino. All three are attorneys who practice law in the City of Niagara Falls.

Primary May Be Decisive

While judicial candidates may run on every line, voters in the primary can only vote for one candidate on the party line in which they are registered to vote.

Since the primary determines which candidate represents each party in the general election, it is possible that the same candidate may win both the Republican and Democratic lines, essentially rendering the general election moot. Oftentimes primaries are the real election, and the general election is merely a formality.

This is a good argument that for those who care, they should make the effort to vote in the primary.

The primary may see a very low voter turnout and a few votes only may separate one candidate from another.

The role of a city court judge is an important one in a poor city, with a high crime rate. A judge sets bail, conducts trials, and administers justice, offering leniency to some, second chances to others and stiff penalties for those he judges merit it.

It is a position that requires temperance, and justice, a familiarity with due process, a desire to see the innocent acquitted, the guilty convicted, a desire to balance the rights of the accused with the rights of the victims, and to instill a sense of confidence in the administration of justice, and to really achieve it.

It requires a person who is eager to learn the truth, who does not prejudge prior to hearing all the evidence and that when the jury decides the fate of the accused to set a sentence that is fair.  In some cases this means a sentence that seeks to rehabilitate the offender as much or more than merely punish.

The city is fortunate this year inasmuch as there are three strong candidates for the office. Voters are able to become informed voters since each of the three candidates have distinguished themselves, one from another, by outlining their view of the law and its enforcement, and by their history and practice of law.


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