Hochul nominates 3 judges from Erie County for state Court of Claims | Crime News

Of 12 nominations Gov. Kathy Hochul is making to the New York State Court of Claims, three are coming from Erie County. These judicial nominations include the top attorney for Erie County government, a Buffalo City Court judge and a judge’s lead law clerk.

The three nominees from Erie County are:

Michael Siragusa, Erie County attorney since 2010, has been nominated by Gov. Kathy Hochul to serve as a judge with the New York Court of Claims.

Courtesy of Erie County

• Erie County Attorney Michael Siragusa. Siragusa has headed the Erie County Attorney’s Office since 2012. Prior to that, he served as deputy assistant attorney general in charge of the Buffalo regional office of the state attorney general. As one of the longest serving Erie County attorneys, he has represented the county’s legal interests and overseen legal cases involving county government.

“Michael has been an outstanding representative of the county and I know he will do an outstanding job if his nomination is confirmed next week by the New York State Senate,” County Executive Mark Poloncarz said in a statement. “While Michael’s departure is a big loss for Erie County, the people of New York State will benefit from his presence on the Court of Claims.”

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• Buffalo City Court Judge Betty Calvo-Torres. Calvo-Torres has served on the City Court bench since 2007 and was the first Hispanic female judge to serve in such a role. She also presided over the Domestic Violence Court from 2010-12 and has been an adjunct professor with the University at Buffalo School of Law since 2016.

She began her career as an assistant in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office and has served as past president of the Hispanic Women’s League and Minority Bar Association of Western New York. She also previously served as a board member with the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority and Community Foundation.

• Stephanie Saunders, principal law clerk to State Supreme Court Justice E. Jeannette Ogden. Saunders has served as principal law clerk to Ogden since 2016 and previously served as assistant legal counsel to the Buffalo school board. Saunders served as director of medical affairs at Kaleida Health from 2006 to 2014 and is president of the Minority Bar Foundation of Western New York.

The Court of Claims handles civil litigation against New York State or certain state-related entities including the State Thruway Authority, Olympic Regional Development Authority, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and New York State Power Authority. Judges appointed to the bench by the governor serve three-year terms and occasionally fill in as acting State Supreme Court justices.

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