Judge Eugene F. Pigott Jr., the newest member of the Court of Appeals, was recognized in absentia Wednesday as the Bar Association of Erie County honored him and 12 other judges for their recent elections, appointments and judicial elevations.
The courtroom ceremony was conducted by Presiding Justice Henry J. Scudder, newly named to head the busy Appellate Division, 4th Department Court that Pigott ran in Rochester for the past six years, and Justice Sharon S. Townsend, administrative judge of the state's Buffalo-based 8th Judicial District.
Townsend told Scudder and the crowd that filled the ceremonial courtroom at Erie County Hall that she knew of "no finer group of bright and hardworking" judges then those being honored during the lunchtime session. The judge said she was thrilled by the numerous cooperative efforts under way between the local judiciary and the bar association, Western New York's largest legal association.
Stephen R. Lamantia, president of the bar association, called the traditional ceremony geared to honor new, re-elected and elevated judges a prime "opportunity to meet, greet and welcome" the judiciary.
Lamantia said Pigott, the first Buffalo-area judge on the state's high court since the 1985 retirement of the late Judge Matthew J. Jasen, was unable to attend the 30th annual judicial welcoming ceremony because he was busy at a court session in Albany.
Scudder and newly appointed 4th Department Appellate Justices Erin M. Peradotto and Eugene M. Fahey were honored along with State Supreme Court Justices Timothy J. Drury and Frank Caruso, and State Court of Claims Judges M. William Boller, John L. Michalski and Timothy J. Walker.
Also honored were Senior Erie County Court Judge Michael L. D'Amico, Buffalo City Court Judge Craig Dexter Hannah and Erie County Family Court Support Magistrates Lenora B. Foote and Catherine E. Marra.
Twenty-nine fellow judges of the federal, state, county and City Court level attended the welcoming ceremony.