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JUSTICE HAROLD ROTHWAX OF STATE COURT DIES

State Supreme Court Justice Harold J. Rothwax, 67, the tart-tongued jurist who presided at the trial of child-killer Joel Steinberg and wrote a book on problems with the criminal-justice system, died Wednesday in Mount Sinai Hospital of complications from a stroke he suffered Sept. 6, said family friend Nicholas Scoppetta.

Rothwax was admired, feared, liked and disliked by lawyers who practiced before him. John Reick, who appeared before him as a prosecutor and a defense attorney called him tough, intelligent and brutally honest.

But many defense lawyers, interviewed in the past about Rothwax only on condition of anonymity, said they felt he was abrupt and impatient.

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