When NY court named for ex-judge, another bristles
FORT EDWARD An upstate New York courthouse is being named for a recently retired judge, but another jurist is saying, "Objection!"
The Washington County Board of Supervisors voted Friday to name the county's courthouse after recently retired state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Mercure, The Post-Star of Glens Falls reported Saturday.
But former Washington County Judge Philip Berke says that's "a slap in the face" to other longtime judges in the area, the newspaper said.
"I'm pretty ticked off," Berke told the Board of Supervisors on Friday. "This has taken a lot out of me."
Berke said he wasn't criticizing Mercure, but others also deserved recognition for their judicial careers.
Berke was forced to retire in 2006, when he hit a state mandatory retirement age for judges. His roughly four-decade career in criminal justice included serving as Washington County district attorney, Granville town justice and county judge, a post he held when the Washington County Courthouse was completed in 1993.
Mercure retired last month. Also a former Washington County district attorney, he was elected as the state's youngest county judge in 1981. Voters chose him the next year for the Supreme Court, the state's trial-level court system, and he became the longest-serving judge in his district.
Two current judges sent letters of support for naming the courthouse for Mercure, County Clerk Debbie Prehoda told the Board of Supervisors.
Members didn't respond to Berke's comments before voting to give the courthouse its new name: the Hon. Thomas E. Mercure Washington County Courthouse.