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Pay raises for judges on docket when courts celebrate Law Day

Some Western New York judges will be using Law Day celebrations this week to push for raises.

Administrative Justice Sharon S. Townsend said Friday that "stagnant salaries year after year have compromised the ability of the judiciary to remain an effective arbiter of justice." Law Day events will be held Tuesday and Wednesday in courthouses in Buffalo, Mayville, Lockport and Belmont.

Speakers during a Law Day gathering at noon Tuesday in Erie County Hall include Townsend, Justice Ralph A. Boniello, who is president of the 8th Judicial District Supreme Court Judges Association, and Amherst Town Justice Mark G. Farrell, president-elect of the State Magistrates Association. The judges will be joined by speakers representing every major lawyer organization in the eight-county judicial district.

Noon sessions also will be held Tuesday in the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville and Niagara County Courthouse in Lockport.

On Tuesday evening, Michael Mohun, former Bennington town justice, will address judicial salaries before the bar associations from Wyoming and Genesee counties in Bohn's Restaurant, 5256 Clinton St., Batavia.

At 3 p.m. Wednesday, judicial salaries will be discussed in the Allegany County Courthouse, Belmont.

Townsend added that the failure of state elected officials to address the pay issue for almost a decade "has eroded the ability of the third branch of government to remain independent and compromised the separation of powers" under the state and U.S. constitutions."

"No judiciary can maintain public confidence when it is unable to attract the very best lawyers at the pinnacle of their careers and retain the very best judges," she said.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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