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Schenectady County Court judge race takes shape

Monday, March 24, 2014
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— The race for a Schenectady County Court judgeship to be vacated at the end of this year is taking shape.

County Republicans have endorsed longtime Rotterdam Town Justice Kenneth P. Litz for the post and the Democrats are endorsing Schenectady City Court Judge Matthew Sypniewski.

Litz and Sypniewski will be vying in the November election to take over for Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago, who will be finishing up her 10-year term on the bench at the end of the year. She announced in January she would not seek another term. She won election on the Republican line.

Litz won the Republican endorsement earlier this month after party leaders interviewed him and Glenville Town Justice Brian Mercy. Mercy said Friday that accepts the decision and won’t seek the post on his own.

Litz, 59, has been a Rotterdam town justice since 1990. He also works in private practice in Schenectady, working in a variety of areas from real estate to criminal defense.

Litz is a 1976 graduate of Siena College and 1979 graduate of the Pace University School of Law in White Plains. He has practiced since 1980.

He could not be reached for comment Friday, but Schenectady County Republican Chairman James Buhrmaster said the committee is behind him 100 percent.

“He’s been there for so long, everybody we’ve talked to, everyone in his court has said he is very fair,” Buhrmaster said.

Sypniewski, 38, is seeking the County Court bench after three years as Schenectady City Court judge and seven years in the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office, where he headed the major crimes bureau.

Sypniewski said in January that County Court, with its serious felony criminal cases, is where he believes he can make the most difference.

Drago became a County Court judge after six years as Schenectady City Court judge. By the time her term ends, she’ll have 16 years total on the bench.

There is only one County Court judge in Schenectady County but judges from other counties are frequently brought in to help with the case load. The County Court judge also oversees Schenectady County’s Drug Court program.

 
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