Because the race for Niagara City Court Judge allows any registered voter to vote for any candidate, Tuesday’s primary may well be more important than the general election in deciding who will be the next to don the black robe and preside over a north Main Street courtroom.
Three candidates are involved, Alan Roscetti, Jim Faso and Nicholas Pelosino.
Alan Roscetti, 37, was the first candidate to announce his interest in the seat held by Judge Robert P. Merino, who will turn 70 this year, reaching New York’s mandatory retirement age for city, county and state judges. An election to fill a 10-year term will be held in November. The post pays $113,900 a year.
Mr. Roscetti, an attorney for 12 years, is the son of James C. Roscetti, a well-known Niagara Falls attorney, and works in the family law firm, Roscetti & DeCastro. He said his background as a public defender handling all types of cases gives him the right experience for City Court.
“I believe in what I do, and as a public defender and an attorney in my family’s law firm, I am living my boyhood dream,” said Mr. Roscetti.
He remembers when he was a fifth grader at Sacred Heart Villa in Lewiston and someone took a picture of him holding a law book. It was an early sign that this young man was headed for the legal career that now sees him setting his sights on a City Court judgeship.
“In many of the cases I handle as a public defender, there are mental health issues involved,” he said, “and in many cases the problems can be diagnosed and the issues resolved in a fair and just way. You have to be able to adjust to the situation and act accordingly. As a judge, it would require the same ability to handle each case firmly but fairly and apply the right legal standards for all involved. That’s what I would do.”
Mr. Roscetti said his love of Niagara Falls is at the heart of his decision to run.
“Serving on the court would indeed be a high honor and one that I would treat with the utmost respect,” he said. “I have lived in the house my grandfather built in Niagara Falls 60 years ago since returning home from college, and nothing would give me greater reward than to serve my fellow citizens on the City Court.”
Like Mr. Roscetti, Jim Faso comes from another prominent area family. A Democrat, Mr. Faso plans to run in the Democratic, Republican, Conservative, Independence and Working Families Party primaries.
Mr. Faso lives in Niagara Falls with his wife, Valerie, a teacher at Niagara Falls High School, and their two daughters. He is the son of town of Town of Niagara Justice James J. Faso, Sr.
A graduate of Niagara University and the University of Toledo College of Law, Mr. Faso is a member of the Niagara County Bar Association and is also a member and general counsel for the Niagara County Police and Judges Association.
“Our community recognizes the importance of having members of the legal community serving in our court system that have the experience and maturity to handle the cases presented,” he said. “I am ready to do that work starting on day one.”
Nicholas Pelosino, a self described law and order man considered by many to be the dark horse candidate in the race, has been a private attorney in Niagara Falls for more than 26 years.
“The decision to run for Niagara Falls City Court judge was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made,” Mr. Pelosino said. “I wavered back and forth for months in deciding whether or not to run for election of this position. In the end, it was my love for Niagara Falls that convinced me to run.”