Decent borough turnout in judicial elections

By Tom Momberg

Many Queens residents who did not have any special elections in their districts came out to vote on Election Day Tuesday — re-electing three Queens Supreme Court justices, a Civil Court judge as well as Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Former City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. was elected as Municipal Court judge.

Fewer than 15,000 ballots combined were submitted for the state Assembly District 29 election in southeast Queens and for the City Council District 23 election in the eastern edge of the borough. Yet nearly 40,000 ballots were cast borough wide for the judgeships.

For the three Supreme Court justice seats up for election, Justices Martin Ritholtz with 39,608 votes, Peter O’Donoghue with 32,737 votes and Duane Hart with 30,621 votes were each elected to another term, defeating their only challenger, Brooklyn attorney Anthony Caronna.

Ritholtz was first elected to a civil term for the judgeship in Queens County in 2002.

O’Donoghue was also first elected to the county Supreme Court in 2002, prior to which he had served as a city Civil Court judge since 1996.

Hart served as a Supreme Court judge alongside Ritholtz and O’Donoghue since he was elected in 2002.

For the three county Civil Court justice seats that were up for grabs, Judge Maureen Healy was re-elected with 30,215 votes, Unified Court System Principal Law Clerk Laurentina McKetney Butler was elected with 29,040 votes and assistant Queens DA Ushir Pandit-Durant was elected with 23,639 votes.

The three women beat out three other challengers, Joseph Kasper, Kevin Hanratty and Michael O’Reilly.

Healy has served in her position since 2006, following her election the year before. She got her start in Queens as a principal law clerk to a justice of the Queens County Supreme Court from 1992 until she was elected.

~Tom Momberg

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