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FAMILY COURT ELECTION CONSTITUTES A REPEAT OF PRIMARY

Tuesday's election of a Family Court judge will be a repeat of the Sept. 9 primary election in which Martin P. Violante, a Niagara Falls Democrat, challenged Judge John F. Batt, a North Tonawanda Republican.

In the primary, Violante won the Democratic Party nomination, and Batt won the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Liberal Party nominations. Batt's name also will appear on the Right to Life and Freedom Party lines on Tuesday's ballot, since he was unchallenged for those nominations.

Violante is a confidential law clerk in State Supreme Court, and Batt is serving an interim term on the Family Court bench by appointment of Gov. Pataki. They are seeking election to a full, 10-year term as judge of Family Court to succeed John F. Halpin who retired from the bench last Jan. 1. The new term would begin Jan. 1, 1998.

Violante has been confidential law clerk to Justice Jacqueline M. Koshian of State Supreme Court in Niagara Falls for about four years. Before that, he was confidential law clerk to two other justices in State Supreme Court and in its Appellate Division.

"My 16 years in the practice of law has been as a confidential clerk, matrimonial referee and hearing officer to three eminent Western New York jurists," Violante said in a campaign statement.

Violante said he had "the benefit of serving as a law clerk to a justice of the Appellate Division of Supreme Court," in addition to "hands-on experience at all levels of civil and criminal litigation in Supreme Court."

Before Batt was appointed as a judge last July, he had been a practicing lawyer for 17 years, much of it in Family Court. As a court-appointed law guardian, he has represented the interests of more than 50 children in Family Court. He also served as an assistant county attorney in Niagara County from 1990-94.

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