After 25 years as a justice of the Appellate Division, Third Department, Thomas Mercure (See Profile) will leave the court in the next couple of months to become an administrative judge.
Mercure is among five new administrative judges appointed on Jan. 18 by Chief Administrative Judge A. Gail Prudenti (See Profile). The others are Bronx Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon (See Profile); Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Lawrence Knipel (See Profile); Queens Acting Supreme Court Justice Joseph Zayas (See Profile); and Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Thomas Adams (See Profile).
Clockwise: Douglas McKeon, Bronx; Lawrence Knipel, Brooklyn; Joseph Zayas, Queens; Thomas Mercure, Third Dept.; and Thomas Adams, Nassau.
"It has been great," Mercure said of his tenure on the Third Department bench. "I enjoyed every minute, but I am looking forward to some new challenges."
Mercure, a highly regarded judge who was nominated for the Court of Appeals three times, served on the high court by designation twice and led the Third Department as acting presiding justice in 2011-2012 during the illness and subsequent death of Anthony Cardona. He was asked by Prudenti to fill a vacant position in the Third Judicial District.
The vacancy was created earlier this month by the abrupt resignation of George Ceresia (See Profile), who left the administrative position he had held since 2004 and returned to the Supreme Court trial bench without explanation (NYLJ, Jan. 10). Ceresia announced his resignation from the administration job in a terse email to colleagues. He has not responded to calls for comment.
"Judge Mercure was willing to come off the Appellate Division," Prudenti said. "He is going to take a good hard look at everything, do the right things for the right reasons and the next administrative judge is going to be the beneficiary of all his hard work."
The Third Department is already three judges short of its full contingent of 12 as Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to fill the position vacated by the 2011 death of Cardona or two other spots that opened with the 2012 electoral defeats of incumbent Justices Bernard Malone Jr. and E. Michael Kavanagh.
Three Supreme Court justices in the Albany areaThomas Breslin (See Profile), Michael Lynch (See Profile) and Eugene Devine (See Profile)are candidates for the Cardona position. The judicial screening panel has yet to advance candidates for the other two spots, according to sources close to the process.
Mercure, who is 69 and faces mandatory retirement at the end of the year, said he will remain on the Third Department temporarily.