2019-06-17 00:31:56 UTC
CNN,USA Today,and People all picked up the story today that James F. Reitz
died Friday after suffering a heart attack on the bench where he was presiding
over family law cases as Putnam County Judge.
He was 57,I am 58,and he was a freshman at Carmel High School when I was a
senior yet I only skipped one grade.
Reitz was a Carmel Town Justice before he became a Putnam County Judge;
last year he unexpectedly ran for New York Supreme Court,9th Judicial
District,after one of the Republican candidates withdrew,and this year
he will unexpectedly NOT be a candidate on account of his death.
NYS Supreme Court seats are by unwritten agreement allocated among the
counties so that a retiring judge from a county is replaced by someone
from the same county...Westchester has most of the population of the entire
9th JD and could fill all the seats if they didn't have such a tradition.
The traditional Putnam County seat has in my lifetime been held by John P.
Donohoe,Fred A. Dickinson,S. Barrett Hickman,and John W. Sweeny,who ages out
this year...all Republicans.Reitz was elected to the County Court seat
previous held by Robert Miller,who had succeeded Sweeny amicably after
they had earlier fought a bitterly contested race for it when Hickman had
(I might be misremembering some details,the county has two County Judges
(the other is James Rooney,whose term is up next year) and only some get
a shot at State Supreme Court...Republicans have won every contested race
I can remember but when a vacancy occurs the Governor appoints someone of
his own party).
It's too late to file for a primary for the regular election this year
but I'm not sure if a special election for County Court can be held this
Judicial conventions to nominate Supreme Court candidates are in August;
Democrats have already endorsed a candidate for the Sweeny seat that
the Republicans wanted Reitz to inherit (last year,with no Putnam vacancy,
he was basically being previewed).
Now Democrats will get an appointed County Court judge pending a special
election and Republicans will need a candidate for that election and the
Supreme Court seat.
As noted,in 2020 the other County Court seat is up;
in 2021 another Supreme Court seat from Putnam is up because
both Sweeny and Putnam's Democratic candidate Victor Grossman were among the
top vote-getters in the 9th JD when Sweeny was last elected.
If the 2021 Supreme Court winner is a County Court Judge there would
be another County Court race in 2022.
Nonetheless,County Judges are elected to 10-year terms and Supreme Court
judges to 14-year terms subject to mandatory retirement at the end of
the year any incumbent turns 70 (a limit set in 1846).
The World Trade Center towers MUST rise again,
at least as tall as before...or terror has triumphed.