Share this article

print logo

Three judges competing for two seats

Three judges are vying for the two $136,700-a-year State Supreme Court seats in Western New York's 8th Judicial District on Nov. 4.

State Supreme Court Justice John M. Michalek, 57, is seeking a second 14-year term on the court, with the unanimous backing of all five major political parties.

Also competing for one of the two judgeships are Williamsville Village Justice Jeffrey F. Voelkl and acting Kenmore Village Justice Tracey A. Bannister.

The second judicial seat was created by the resignation of former Justice Amy Jo Fricano.

Michalek, 57, served as interim supervisor for the Town of Hamburg in 1993 and was the town's attorney from 1989 through 1993.

A 1969 graduate of St. Francis High School, Michalek earned his bachelor's degree from Canisius College in 1973 and law degree from Albany Law School in 1976. He was an assistant Erie County district attorney from 1977 through 1985.

A lifelong Democrat, Michalek was the first prosecutor in the state to convict someone of inducing a child into a recorded sexual performance, in 1979, by winning a conviction of a local man for taking nude photos of himself with a young girl. And as a defense attorney, he participated in the state's first televised criminal trial in 1988.

The father of two, Michalek and his wife live in Lake View.

Bannister, 49, carries endorsements of the Democrat, Independence and Working Families parties, and Voelkl, 40, is the endorsed candidate of the Republican and Conservative parties.

Bannister, an acting village justice in Kenmore since 2006, is making her first run at elective office. She has been confidential law clerk to State Appellate Justice Jerome C. Gorski since 1989, when he was a trial-level state judge.

Bannister, native of Morris County, N.J., is a 1981 honors graduate of Rutgers University. She earned her law degree from the University at Buffalo in 1984. She is married to Patrick Bannister, a state Workers' Compensation Board attorney and South Buffalo native.

Voelkl, a Williamsville village justice since July 2003, has been an acting Buffalo City Court judge since December 2005. Since 1993 he also has been a trial lawyer for Robshaw & Associates, a Williamsville law firm.

A 1989 graduate of Canisius College, Voelkl earned his law degree from the University of Akron School of Law in May 1992 and a master of law degree in tax law from Boston University School of Law in May 1993.

A Williamsville native and lifelong Republican, Voelkl since last year has been president of the Amherst Library Board. He and his wife, Margrit, also an attorney, are the parents of a daughter and a son.

The Bar Association of Erie County has given Bannister its highest rating, outstanding, and both Michalek and Voelkl its second-highest rating, well qualified.


There are no comments - be the first to comment