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STATE HIGH COURT HOLDS SESSION HERE

As the state's high court Thursday began its first working session in Buffalo since 1849, Chief State Justice Judith S. Kaye said "this historic session" will now forever be known as the court's "Buffalo Session."

As court was called to order at 1 p.m., Kaye, the first woman appointed to the high court and its first female chief judge, pledged that "it will not be another 156 years before we return to Buffalo" for another working session in what she called the "spectacular" refurbished Erie County Hall.

Following the 2 1/2 -hour session, the seven judges of the Albany-based Court of Appeals were feted by the University at Buffalo Law School Alumni Association, which invited the court to come to Buffalo.

This morning,) the high court was to hold a breakfast honoring former Court of Appeals Judge Matthew J. Jasen of Buffalo, the last Western New Yorker to sit on the high court, which he served for 18 years. He retired in 1985.

Thursday, the full court reserved decision on efforts by the City of Buffalo to overturn an arbitrator's determination that Police Commissioner Rocco J. Diina is "bound by past practice" to promote to the rank of detective the police officer who gets the top score in the civil service test for the job.

Diina contends he should have the right to choose from among the top three ranking officers on the civil service list for detective rank.

The state's lower courts have upheld the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association's victory in that arbitration case stemming from Diina's June 2000 refusal to promote the officer at the top of the promotional list.

It also reserved decision on efforts by the Erie County district attorney's office to revive a trespassing charge against a Buffalo man for an incident at the UB South Campus two years ago and another Buffalo man's January 2002 drug arrest.

Both those criminal cases were dismissed in the lower courts.

The court also reserved decision on National Gypsum Co.'s bid to challenge its Town of Tonawanda property assessment, and on a constitutional challenge to the Town of Concord's recycling and zoning laws by Henry Duwe concerning his Genesee Road bark mulch processing operation.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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