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Benedict announces run for Niagara County judge

Michael E. Benedict, confidential law clerk to Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon, announced Tuesday he will run next year for the job Sheldon will vacate at the end of 2020.

Benedict, a Lockport Democrat, will face District Attorney Caroline A. Wojtaszek, his predecessor as Sheldon's law clerk. Wojtaszek, a North Tonawanda Democrat, announced her candidacy last week.

Before becoming Sheldon's clerk in 2016, Benedict was the county's lead felony public defender for 10 years. He also served as the City of Lockport's deputy corporation counsel from 2012 to 2014, but he said criminal law is his "passion."

“However, practicing in so many other areas of law has given me insight and an understanding as to the many ways someone’s life can be impacted by the law. I sincerely believe that the number of convictions, or acquittals, a candidate has obtained does not dictate success on the bench. Instead, it is ensuring that the laws are upheld and justice is obtained for the members of our community."

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