Obituary: John Buckley
Former Appellate Division, First Department, Presiding Justice John Buckley, a three-term upstate assemblyman who was tapped by Governor George Pataki to lead the downstate appeals court, died Tuesday. He was 77.
Buckley, who was born in Utica on Feb. 8, 1936, was a 1958 graduate of Georgetown University and a 1961 graduate of Albany Law School.
After serving in the U.S. Army Reserves, Buckley joined the Utica firm of Kernan and Kernan. He later formed his own firm, Buckley & Scholl, also in Utica, and in 1966 was elected to the New York State Assembly. Buckley, a Republican, served three terms before making an unsuccessful bid for Congress.
Buckley's judicial career began in 1979 when he was elected to the Oneida County Court bench, where he remained until his 1994 election to Supreme Court.
Five years later, Pataki elevated Buckley to the First Department and, in 2003, made him presiding justice. Buckley stepped down as presiding justice after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2006, but remained an associate justice until his retirement in 2010.
New York State Bar Association President David M. Schraver of Nixon Peabody in Rochester said Buckley "was a wonderful, down-to-earth judge who was always considerate of those who appeared before him."
Buckley is survived by his wife and two children.
According to the Utica Observer-Dispatch, a mass will be celebrated at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Utica.