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Local Justices Curran, NeMoyer, Troutman gain appellate posts

Three local State Supreme Court justices will be filling vacancies on the court’s Appellate Division, the Governor’s Office announced Thursday.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is appointing Justices John M. Curran, Patrick H. NeMoyer and Shirley Troutman to the Rochester-based Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department, which encompasses 22 counties in Western and Central New York.

The judges will move to their new seats immediately, and any cases pending in their courts will be reallocated to other Supreme Court judges in the Eighth Judicial District.

The three appointments will mean that there is only one vacancy on the 12-member panel. Justice Rose H. Sconiers retired in 2015; Justice Salvatore R. Martoche retired in 2013 and joined Hodgson Russ; and Justice Eugene M. Fahey was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2015. The other vacancy was created with the retirement of Joseph D. Valentino of Rochester in December.

Curran was elected to the Supreme Court in 2004 after serving as Orchard Park town justice for eight years. Before that, he had been an attorney in private practice in Florida and New York, and was a partner in the Buffalo law firms of Albrecht, Maguire, Heffern & Gregg and then Phillips Lytle.

He is a past president for the Supreme Court Justices for the Eighth Judicial District, the University at Buffalo Law Alumni Association and the Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce. An adjunct faculty member at Canisius College, he received his law degree from the University at Buffalo Law School in 1984.

NeMoyer is in his second 14-year term in State Supreme Court, elected in 1997 and 2011. He clerked for Administrative Judge James B. Kane before becoming Erie County attorney, and in 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated him to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York.

He is a member of the New York State Pattern Jury Instructions Committee and the board of directors of the Center for Handicapped Children. He earned a law degree from the UB Law School in 1977 and received a master’s in economics from UB in 1984.

Troutman was a judge in Buffalo City Court and Erie County Court before her election to State Supreme Court in 2009. Before that, she was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of New York, an assistant attorney general for the state and an assistant district attorney for Erie County.

She also is an adjunct professor with the UB Law School and a member of the New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics and the Committee to Promote Public Confidence and Trust in the Courts. After receiving her bachelor’s in business administration from UB in 1982, she earned her law degree at Albany Law School and was designated as a fellow by the U.S. Department of Justice for completion of its Advanced Science Technology and Resource Judge Training Program in 2009.

The governor fills seats on the Appellate Division from justices already serving in State Supreme Court who apply for the positions. Judicial screening committees review the applicants, and only those deemed “highly qualified” have their names forwarded to the governor for consideration. To be found “highly qualified,” candidates must display integrity, independence, leadership, intellect, legal ability, judgment, temperament and experience.

The Governor’s Office indicated it will continue reviewing candidates previously forwarded by the committees, as well as new applicants to fill the remaining vacancies.

Unlike nominations to the Court of Appeals, these appointments are not subject to State Senate confirmation.