Almost 40 years since he first donned judicial robes and took the bench, James B. Kane on Thursday finally retired. Again.
The latest retirement for Kane, now 81, came as he ended five years as a judicial hearing officer, trying to get lawyers to settle cases rather than clog the courts. He stepped down from State Supreme Court in 2000.
Friends and colleagues gathered in the courtroom of Justice Patrick H. NeMoyer on Thursday to wish well a man who began his judicial career in Buffalo City Court and later, as a State Supreme Court justice, served as chief administrative judge.
"He is the least-reversed judge in the history of Western New York as far as I know," former District Attorney Edward C. Cosgrove said of Kane's record with the appellate courts. "He had a wonderful instinct of knowing what is right."
Before he took the bench, Kane navigated a B-17 bomber over Germany in World War II, served as secretary of the Erie County Democratic Party and helped elect Democrats from Mayor Frank Sedita to President John F. Kennedy.
"He was never late to work, he was never sick," recalled Cosgrove.