Judge’s shock retirement opens 2nd seat on Onondaga County’s leading felony courtroom

Syracuse, NY — Onondaga County voters will be requested to exchange 50 percent of the top rated prison court judges in November after a next decide declared his retirement this month.

County Court docket Decide Stephen Dougherty will retire July 31, a surprise determination that sees him depart 5 1/2 a long time into his 1st 10-yr time period on the county’s felony courtroom.

Dougherty, a Democrat, joins fellow Judge Thomas J. Miller, a Republican, in departing the county’s courtroom that handles key crimes, up to and such as murders. Miller introduced his retirement months back as he finishes a complete time period on the bench.

Related: 2 choose retirements – one particular predicted, just one not – leave major openings in Onondaga County

Their departures will leave only two remaining felony court judges in 2023: Decide Matthew Doran, a Republican, and Judge Gordon Cuffy, a Democrat appointed by the state legislature.

Dougherty’s shock determination sends each main events looking for nominations to substitute him. The November ballot will now include things like two County Courtroom openings for every celebration to fill.

The Republicans have currently picked the county’s chief murder prosecutor, Melinda McGunnigle, to run for a person of the seats.

Previous prosecutor and Clay Town Court Decide Jeffrey Schiano, also a protection lawyer, is looking for the GOP nod for the 2nd seat.

The Democrats have settled on previous Syracuse Town Court docket Choose Ted Limpert for the very first seat.

Veteran protection attorney Annie Porter, also a sexual assault hearing officer at Syracuse College, is in search of her party’s ballot line for the 2nd seat.

No woman has ever served as an Onondaga County Court choose. A get for Porter or McGunnigle — or both equally — would adjust that.

Dougherty’s retirement July 31 sets in motion a exceptional circumstance, because major elections have now passed. But he also will go away prior to an Aug. 3 cutoff for this year’s ballot, guaranteeing that his seat will be stuffed this November, mentioned the county’s Democratic elections commissioner, Dustin Czarny.

For the reason that of the timing, the get-togethers will have 10 days — Aug. 1 to 10 — to maintain a conference to pick a applicant for the November ballot, Czarny explained. There will be no probability to maintain a most important to problem the parties’ designees.

Dougherty noted in his retirement letter that he picked his retirement date to be certain that another person else could be voted in this November to substitute him.

“I was hoping to leave at the conclude of this yr…but the pandemic impacted my selection,” Dougherty wrote in a letter to the area’s chief decide, devoid of elaborating. “By leaving when I am, it makes sure that my place isn’t ‘open’ till the 2023 election.”

Dougherty instructed Syracuse.com | The Post-Regular that his intention before this yr was to retire at the finish of 2022 — marking 20 yrs on the bench concerning town and county courts. But he realized that his program would depart the county down one elected choose until finally the November 2023 election. So he opted as a substitute to retire in time to give voters a possibility to fill his seat heading into 2023.

Dougherty ideas to function until eventually his July 31 retirement, with a demo scheduled for his final 7 days on the bench.

Outside of legal courts, the county also desires to switch retiring condition Supreme Court Justice Edward Carni. In the only other race, Relatives Court docket Decide Julie Cecile, a Democrat, is operating for reelection versus Republican Jim Corl, a former Relatives Court legislation clerk and present judicial district courtroom attorney.

Employees author Douglass Dowty can be arrived at at [email protected] or (315) 470-6070.