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What you need to know for 10/18/2017

3 vie in race for regional judgeship

3 vie in race for regional judgeship

Three candidates are vying for a single open Supreme Court justice seat in the state’s 3rd Judicial

Three candidates are vying for a single open Supreme Court justice seat in the state’s 3rd Judicial District.

On the ballot for the district that includes Albany and Schoharie counties are: Albany County Family Court Judge W. Dennis Duggan, Rensselaer County District Attorney Richard J. McNally and Greene County Attorney Carol Donnelly-Stevens.

The seat is now held by Justice George Ceresia, a native of Troy who is turning 70 this year and retiring.

The three people looking to win the seat come from diverse backgrounds — one a Family Court judge, one a district attorney and the other a county attorney.

State Supreme Court justices, who serve 14-year terms, can hear a variety of cases, including civil and criminal. Some of the justices are also appointed to the court’s Appellate Division, hearing appeals from state Supreme Court and county criminal courts.

The 3rd Judicial District covers seven counties, including Schoharie, Albany and Rensselaer.

W. Dennis Duggan

Duggan is the only one of the three who is currently a sitting judge. He is also the only one of the three to have a single line on the ballot, the Working Families line.

Duggan, 64, of Albany, has served as an Albany County Family Court judge since 1994. He graduated from Albany Law School in 1976.

He points to his success in Family Court, which includes four years as an acting Supreme Court justice, as making him a good candidate for full-time justice.

“I think I have the best qualifications,” Duggan said. “I’m the only judge running and there will be no surprises what kind of judge I’ll be.”


McNally, 52, of Valley Falls, is Rensselaer County district attorney; he is running on the Democrat and Independence lines.

McNally graduated from the St. John’s University School of Law in 1987 and became district attorney in 2008. He’s also been a public defender and in private practice.

“I believe that the view from the bench should be seen through a lens of understanding where the litigants stand,” McNally said. “I think I have that experience.”

Carol Donnelly-Stevens

Donnelly-Stevens, 59, of Windham, is the Greene County attorney, a job that includes advising the county’s Legislature on legal matters and handling litigation for the county. She is a graduate of SUNY-Potsdam and a 1979 graduate of Albany Law School.

Donnelly-Stevens has worked as an assistant district attorney and in private practice. She is running on the Republican and Conservative lines.

“I think that my 30 years experience as an attorney is very broad and very deep,” Donnelly-Stevens said. “I’ve been in municipal and criminal law, private practice and corporate practice. I think that gives me a good legal foundation to handle the matters that come before the Supreme Court.”

W. Dennis Duggan

Age: 64

Home: Albany

Occupation: Albany County Family Court Judge

Education: Graduate of Notre Dame University and Albany Law School, 1976

Family: Married, two

children, ages 28 and 20

Party: Working Families

Richard J. McNally

Age: 52

Home: Valley Falls

Occupation: Rensselaer County District Attorney

Education: Graduate of SUNY-Buffalo and St. John’s University School of Law, 1987

Family: Married, two

daughters ages 15 and 12

Party: Democrat and


Carol Donnelly-Stevens

Age: 59



Occupation: Greene County Attorney

Education: Graduate of SUNY-Potsdam, and Albany Law School, 1979

Family: Widow, two daughters ages 28 and 25

Party: Republican and


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