The Daily Record
“The most sacred of duties of government is to do equal and impartial justice to all citizens.”—Thomas Jefferson
“Our courts are where the people meet the promise of this nation.”—Buffalo native and Minnesota Federal District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson (on taking the oath of office)
As lawyers, we play a critical role in helping the court with its most sacred of duties—equal and impartial justice for all. The ultimate responsibility, however, often falls on the men and women of our judiciary. “It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do.”–Edmund Burke.
We are proud to announce a new event during which we will celebrate our local judiciary by welcoming its newest members. They will receive a ceremonial black robe, a traditional symbol of objectivity, neutrality, and the Rule of Law. We will also thank those who are leaving the bench.
Monroe County Bar Association [“MCBA”] members are invited to join us on January 15, 2015—beginning at 5:30 pm at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Rochester—for the inaugural Judicial Robing Ceremony. January symbolizes the beginning of a new year with new dreams and expectations. It also marks the continued terms of previously elected judges, the first terms of those newly elected and the end of judicial service for some.
Welcoming the Newly Elected—Honorable John M. Owens
The Honorable John M. Owens is no stranger to our local judiciary. He has served as a Justice of the Supreme Court since 2005. This past November, he was elected to serve as the next Judge of our Surrogate’s Court.
Judge Owens is no stranger to our Surrogate’s Court. For the five year period before he was elected to Supreme Court, Judge Owens served as Principal Law Clerk to our retiring Surrogate (Hon. Edmund A. Calvaruso). He brings to this new challenge more than twenty years of experience in private practice.
Judge Owens is well respected. In addition to his judicial duties, Judge Owens is a member of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics and a member of the New York State Lawyer Assistance Trust, Judicial Advisory Panel.
Welcoming the Newly Elected—Judge-elect Leticia Astacio
This past November, Leticia Astacio was elected to serve as a Rochester City Court Judge. Her ascension to the bench is inspiring.
Under challenging circumstances, Judge-elect Astacio completed high school early and worked her way through Monroe Community College and the University of Buffalo. She earned multiple graduate degrees (Juris Doctor and Master of Social Work).
After completing her education, Judge-elect Astacio worked for what was then known as the Monroe County Legal Assistance Center. She thereafter joined the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office where she served in various capacities for a number of years including as a Senior Assistant in the Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Bureau and as a Felony Assistant in the DWI Bureau.
At the time she was elected to City Court, Judge-elect Astacio was in private practice. She serves on various boards and regularly lends a hand in service events.
We look forward to the opportunity to welcome Judge Owens and Judge-elect Astacio at the upcoming event as they assume these new responsibilities. We are confident that they will find our local bar to be an important partner in our ultimate goal–equal and impartial justice for all.
Thanking Honorable Edmund A. Calvaruso and Honorable William P. Polito
Sadly, this year, Judge Calvaruso is required to retire as a Judge of the Surrogate’s Court. Judge Calvaruso has a long and distinguished record of public service in our community. Space does not permit me to recite the many ways that he has served our community, however, he was first elected to the bench (Supreme Court) in 1991. In 2000, he was elected for the first time as the Judge of our Surrogate’s Court. He was reelected in 2010.
In addition, the Honorable William P. Polito also is required to retire as a Judge of the Supreme Court. Judge Polito was elected to the Supreme Court bench in 1997 and has been duly certified to continue to serve in that capacity since 2009. Like Judge Calvaruso, Judge Polito has a long and distinguished record of public service to our community. They both will be missed.
We look forward to the opportunity to thank Judges Calvaruso and Polito at the event as they begin a new chapter in their lives.
Thanks to our Planning Committee and Happy Holidays!
I am grateful to those who have worked with me and the MCBA Executive Director (Mary Loewenguth) to plan this important event—Chief Administrative Judge Craig Doran, Supreme Court Judge Matthew Rosenbaum, Family Court Judge James Walsh, City Court Judge Caroline Morrison and Frank Iacovangelo.
On behalf of my wife Lorrie and my daughter Anne, I wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and joyful holiday season.
Steven V. Modica is president of the Monroe County Bar Association and principal of Modica & Associates, Attorneys, PLLC. He can be reached at Steve@ModicaLawFirm.com