Schenectady County

Schenectady Democrats to vote judge endorsement

The Schenectady County Democratic executive committee Sunday night recommended City Court Judge C


The Schenectady County Democratic executive committee Sunday night recommended City Court Judge Christine Clark for Family Court judge.

The recommendation now goes before the full membership of the Schenectady County Democratic Committee for its endorsement. Chairman Brian Quail said he has yet to schedule this meeting.

Quail said the executive committee selected Clark based on her experience as a sitting judge and her temperament. “She has the right background that would make her an ideal successor to Judge Assini,” he said.

Judge Jo Anne Assini, a Democrat, announced in February that she would not seek election to a second 10-year term in November.

Clark was appointed city judge in January 2005 and ran later in the year, when she won a full 10-year term. In an e-mail, Clark said as a City Court judge for the last five years, “I have handled and made decisions in thousands of cases, both civil and criminal. I understand the importance of treating all who appear before me respectfully and courteously, and administer my courtroom in a dignified and patient manner.”

Clark graduated from Albany Law School, Union University, in 1996, and went to work for the law firm of Dreyer Boyajian in Albany. In 1998, she joined the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office as an assistant district attorney. She became bureau chief of the office’s Special Victims Unit in 2004.

“As an assistant district attorney, I prosecuted sex crimes and child abuse cases and was the first bureau chief of the Special Victim’s Unit. In that role, I met with abused children and spoke with them about the atrocities that they endured. Although it was uncomfortable to discuss the abuse, I learned a lot about communicating with children and their resiliency,” Clark said.

During her tenure as a City Court judge, Clark served as an acting Family Court judge. “As a result of this experience, I am well versed in the Family Court Act and the inner workings of the court,” she said.

Party officials said in the first round of balloting, the executive committee split almost evenly between Clark and First Deputy County Attorney Kevin Burke, chief counsel of the Schenectady County Department of Social Services, with 10 votes for Clark and seven for Burke. The committee’s final recommendation for Clark was unanimous.

Bruce Trachtenberg, a deputy conflict defender for Schenectady County, on Monday said he was disappointed with the executive committee’s recommendation and held out the possibility of running a primary for the party’s endorsement.

“It is my belief I have a lot of supporters out there who would be disappointed if I did not run. The executive committee should have endorsed the person with the most experience in Family Court and the person who has worked the hardest for the party,” he said.

Trachtenberg said his next step is to ask the full committee for its support. “I hope the entire committee overrules the executive committee and selects me as their candidate,” he said. “None of the people have given as much to the party as I have.”

Party officials said Trachtenberg received no executive committee votes Sunday night. Trachtenberg kicked off his campaign for Family Court judge March 21 and has established a committee to collect donations.

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