Forty-six judges in New York State will be ending their terms unexpectedly Dec. 31, 2020. Included in that number are judges in Rochester James Piampiano and Judge John Ark. Piampiano handled the Charlie Tan case, and Ark has been handling the Conesus Inn case, the Brighton Whole Foods case, and several mesothelioma cancer lawsuits, in addition to other election-related cases.
The 46 judges’ jobs were targeted by an edict from Governor Andrew Cuomo, which cut $300 million from the budget. Not offering re-certification for these judges will save about $55 million, but will also increase workload of an already overburdened court system in New York, where cases often take years to settle. All of the judges were denied re-certification even though they had done nothing wrong. However, re-certification is required of judges over 70 years old every two years, and with their certification denied by the state, the judges must step down Dec. 31, 2020. Their workloads will be shared by other judges.
However, the other judges already have their own workloads, and may not be familiar with the details of the case that Judges Ark and Piampiano have been handling, some of these cases for years. It’s expected that the move to remove the judges will slow cases considerably, as the other judges try to fit cases into their own busy schedules, and review past evidence, since they may not be familiar with the case.