My name is Joe McBride and I am running for Chenango County Court Judge. I am the only candidate determined to be qualified for the position of Chenango County Court Judge by the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission of the state of New York. The commission’s independent screening panels rate candidates in order to help voters make more informed choices. The commission’s evaluations help to ensure that candidates “possess the qualities necessary for effective judicial performance.” The rating process requires applicants to submit a detailed questionnaire responding to a variety of questions including those regarding legal employment history, educational background, bar association membership, community activities, and legal teaching experience. Applicants must also disclose, among other things, criminal convictions, findings of malpractice, orders of protection, and unsatisfied tax lien/judgments/warrants, if any.
Currently, I serve as Chenango County District Attorney, a job I have held since June 4, 1999. My duties include the prosecution of all criminal matters in our county, as well as overseeing the Assistant District Attorneys in prosecuting criminal and traffic matters in all town and village courts in addition to city court. Over the last 20 years I have been involved in almost every major criminal trial in Chenango County. As your District Attorney, I have prosecuted over 1500 felonies and have a very high conviction rate. I take my position as District Attorney, representing and protecting the people of Chenango County, very seriously. I have a good working relationship with all local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as victim advocate agencies. I am proud of the way we have worked together for the good of our community. Chenango County has a long tradition of choosing their County Court Judges from the ranks of current and former DAs including the Honorable Irad Ingraham, the Honorable Kevin Dowd, and the Honorable W. Howard Sullivan. My experience as District Attorney, working closely with all levels of law enforcement, and advocating for victims of crimes, has prepared me to follow in their footsteps.
I am the only candidate with prosecutorial experience. My Republican opponent serves as an Assistant County Attorney, a position that is not the same as a criminal prosecutor. It is, in fact, the presentment agency for Juvenile Delinquency petitions in Chenango County. In New York State, we do not criminally prosecute those under the age of 16 unless it is a very serious crime. In those cases, the District Attorney would be responsible for the prosecution.
My opponents possess far less experience in the aspects of law outlined above. Over the last 15 years, my Republican opponent has participated in only two jury trials. The Democratic candidate has participated in only one jury trial, under direct supervision of another attorney. Over my career, I have been involved in over 65 jury trials; I personally tried the majority of these cases, and I supervised other attorneys in the remaining few. My extensive jury trial experience is extremely important, and will help me make fair and just decisions for the people of Chenango County.
This campaign has generated interest in Family Court because it impacts so many people in our county. Family Court is one of the most important responsibilities of the County Court Judge. Those who enter Family Court are facing an immediate crisis, and they are looking to the court for a swift and just resolution. While every bit as important as Criminal Court, Family Court is “fact-based,” meaning the legal principals involved are basic and easily understood. This “fact-based” concept is crucial because the matters that bring people before the Family Court Judge are the most emotionally charged and personal issues any of us are likely to face. While in private practice, I worked a great deal in Family Court; I represented parties in all types of proceedings, including representing children as their law guardian. I also practiced in Surrogate’s Court, where I tried, and won, a rare contested probate matter before a jury. In 2004, I discontinued my private practice to become the first full time District Attorney in Chenango County, a demonstration of my commitment to public service.
My wife Lou Ann and I, married for 28 years, chose to raise our sons, Peter and Michael, here in Chenango County. My pride and dedication to this community are evident in my long history of community service in Chenango County. Currently, I serve on the Norwich City School Board, the Multidisciplinary Task Force for the Benefit of Abused Children for Chenango County, the Chenango County Youth Board, and the Chenango County Traffic Safety Board. I am a member of the New York State Bar Association and the New York State District Attorney’s Association. I am also, of course, a member of the Chenango County Bar Association and have served as its President.
Over my 28 years of trial experience, whether I have been defender, prosecutor, or law guardian; whether I have been in County Court on a criminal matter, Family Court, or Surrogate’s Court, I have been guided by my belief in the strength of our justice system. I have brought all my experience, and fulfilled my duties, to the best of my abilities, every time.
I value this community and would be honored to continue serving the people of Chenango County as the next County Court Judge. When making your decision in this upcoming election, I ask you to think about what matters to you and your family. I ask you to think about which candidate has the background and values to best serve the people of Chenango County. Finally, I respectfully ask you to consider my experience and qualifications, along with my commitment to this community, and vote for me on Thursday, September 13.