Lower court judges have for years grumbled that the acting Supreme Court designations are doled out as a reward to favored or connected judges, with the assignments sometimes bearing little apparent relationship to ability or need.
So far, only two acting Supreme Court justicesAlbany County Surrogate Cathryn Doyle (See Profile) and Rensselaer County Family Court Judge Catherine Cholakis (See Profile)have been returned to a lower court, but more reassignments are expected after Coccoma and Fisher complete their review, Prudenti said.
Doyle served only part-time in Supreme Court, handling four trial terms last year in Columbia County.
"I only had four terms in Supreme. To me it is not a tremendous financial difference, but I know that for some judges who were full time it is quite a kick in the teeth," Doyle said.
Cholakis had been a full-time acting Supreme Court justice for a decade and was in charge of the integrated domestic violence court, which is based in the Rensselaer County Family Court. The integrated court was created so that one judge could handle the various criminal, family and matrimonial issues that arise.
Albany County Family Court Judge Margaret Walsh (See Profile) has been appointed to the acting Supreme Court position that was taken away from Cholakis.
It is unclear why Cholakis was removed from the acting justice post and her tasks were re-assigned to a newly designated acting justice.
Cholakis declined to comment. Third Department Administrative Judge George Ceresia (See Profile) was unavailable for comment.
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