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By: Jenelle Faso, Esq.
Candidate for Niagara Falls City Court Judge
This letter is in response to the letter sent in by Mr. Pelosino with regard to siblings sitting on the bench having a conflict of interest. He alleges that by having siblings sitting on the bench there would be conflicts of interest and therefore creating a larger workload for the other two sitting judges in Niagara Falls. These conflicts do not exist as Mr. Pelosino perceives them. He is essentially mischaracterizing the actual conflict. Conflicts of interest can come up in many different situations. For instance, a judge cannot hear a case involving a family member or close friend. However, just because the judges are related doesn’t mean they both have a conflict. A judge cannot hear a case involving a former client but after a period of two years, that conflict “falls off”, or becomes nonexistent.
When my brother, Hon. James Faso, Jr. was elected in 2017, he had previously been the conflict defender in Niagara Falls City Court. His private practice also was primarily in Niagara Falls City Court. It was clear that there would be many instances that he would have conflicts with many cases that potentially could come before him. The solution was that he was transferred to North Tonawanda City Court for six months and the North Tonawanda City Court Judge transferred to Niagara Falls. None of the other three sitting City Court Judges had any more burden placed on them.
The letter from Mr. Pelosino seemed to imply that any prior conflicts that my brother had would also be transferred to me and that I would have conflicts with his former clients. That is simply not true. My brother has been sitting on the bench for four years and any conflicts with his former clients have become nonexistent. If elected I would not have any conflicts with my brother’s former clients.
As I have primarily practiced in Niagara Falls City Court, of course there would be some conflicts, however, my opponents have also practiced in Niagara Falls City Court so essentially, all of us at some time would have conflicts with former clients, or in Mr. Mazur’s case, people he has formerly prosecuted. Perhaps Mr. Pelosino’s intentions weren’t to inform the public or help his friend but just a case of sour grapes.