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Dillon announces bid for state court

Erie County Family Court Judge James H. Dillon announced Wednesday that he is running for a seat on State Supreme Court.

With 16 years of service on the busy Family Court, Dillon is the court's longest-serving judge.

Dillon, 55, said he will seek the Democrat Party nomination and is open to endorsements of other political parties.

Dillon, a lifelong Democrat, said he is unsure if he will run in party primaries if the state's higher courts impose primary balloting for the trial court seats that have been traditionally filled by political parties.

Dillon is a former law clerk for State Supreme Court Justice Timothy J. Drury and was a prosecutor under former Erie County District Attorneys Edward C. Cosgrove and Richard J. Arcara, now the chief federal judge in Western New York.

Elected to a second 10-year term in 2000, Dillon is making his second run at the state court seat.

For his 2005 run at a State Supreme Court seat, the Bar Association of Erie County rated him "outstanding." The Bar Association in 1996 awarded him its Special Service Award "for dedicated service and outstanding contributions to the legal community."

A former president of the New York State Family Court Judges Association, Dillon is presiding justice of the Erie County Juvenile Treatment Court -- a branch of the Family Court -- and lead judge on a state court system effort to craft guidelines for dealing with juvenile delinquency cases.

A lifelong resident of Erie County, Dillon and his wife, Karen, live in Hamburg. The Dillons have three daughters and five grandchildren.

His father was Buffalo attorney William Dillon; he is the cousin of State Supreme Court Justice Kevin M. Dillon; and nephew of the late State Supreme Court Justice Michael F. Dillon.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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