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Batt, DiPasquale vie for judgeship

In Niagara County, previous races for countywide offices have included some spirited political punch-ups.

Not this year.

With four countywide positions on Tuesday's ballot, voters will have a choice for only one.

In the contest for Family Court judge, John F. Batt, the incumbent and a Lockport Republican, faces a challenge from Linda M. DiPasquale, a Wheatfield Democrat.

Elsewhere, Matthew J. Murphy III, a Lockport Democrat, will move down one floor from the third-floor corner office he has occupied for 16 years as district attorney to succeed Peter L. Broderick Sr. as a county judge.

Broderick also had been his predecessor as district attorney.

Michael J. Violante, a Niagara Falls Republican and a prominent defense attorney who resigned earlier this year as the county's public defender, will succeed Murphy as the county's top prosecutor.

Wayne F. Jagow, a Lockport Republican, also faces no opposition in his bid for a fourth full term as county clerk.

In the Family Court race, Batt had come close to having a free ride.

DiPasquale won the Democratic primary by only 205 votes out of almost 8,300 cast and eked out a two-vote victory over Batt in the Working Families Party primary.

Batt won the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties' lines.

Batt, 53, is completing his first 10-year term in Family Court.

He said he likes the work and feels he's good at it.

His campaign literature features thank-you letters from parents and children who have appeared before him in the roughly 10,000 cases he's handled in the last decade.

"I'm rated 'A,' well-qualified by the Niagara County Bar Association, 'A,' superior by the Niagara Falls Bar Association and 'outstanding' by the Women's Bar Association of Western New York," said Batt, who holds a law degree from the University at Buffalo.

DiPasquale, 45, earned her law degree from the University of North Carolina.

She has been practicing family law for 20 years, primarily in Erie County.

She was rated "well-qualified" by the Niagara Falls Bar Association and "highly qualified" by the Women's Bar Association.

Batt was a law guardian for many years before ascending to the bench, but DiPasquale cites her work as a practicing family attorney as a point in her favor.

"I have a lot of energy, and I'm committed to making cases move," she said.

"The greatest opportunity anybody has to affect children is in Family Court. What I would like it to be is a child-centered court."

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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