State Supreme Court Justice Peter J. Notaro confirmed Monday that he will retire from the bench at the end of the year.
Notaro is a Buffalo native and graduate of Bishop Fallon High School and the University at Buffalo Law School.
"I will truly miss all the wonderful people who have worked with me in the courts" for the past 44 years, said Notaro, who turned 70 in February.
Notaro joins State Court of Claims Judges Ronald H. Tills and Mario J. Rossetti, also retiring from their Eighth Judicial District posts after turning 70.
Notaro could have remained on the bench, seeking certification as a senior state judge, like fellow Justices Samuel H. Green, senior associate judge of the state's Fourth Department Appellate Division, and Frank A. Sedita Jr., a Buffalo trial judge.
The seats of Notaro, Green and Sedita will be filled by newly elected justices Deborah A. Haendiges, a former Family Court judge; Buffalo City Judge Diane Y. Devlin; and Buffalo lawyer Gerald J. Whalen, court officials confirmed.
Replacements for Tills and Rossetti -- both assigned to State Supreme Court trial work -- will be made by Gov. George E. Pataki, subject to confirmation by the State Senate.
Notaro began his career as a prosecutor under then-Erie County District Attorney Michael F. Dillon. He was elected in November 1975 to Erie County Family Court. He was supervising judge of Family Court when he was elected to a 14-year term on State Supreme Court.