Stephen DeNigris, Guilderland judge candidate

Stephen DeNigris

Stephen DeNigris, a Democrat running on the Republican ticket, said he doesn’t believe that the court crowding can be solely attributed to the fact that there are currently only two town justices.
“To simply believe just hiring a third judge will solve the problem is unacceptable,” he said.

DeNigris, a 15-year resident of Guilderland, graduated from the Nova University Law Center and the Georgetown University Law Center, and has been admitted to the bar in New York, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and Florida. He was admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals, and the United States Court of Veterans Appeals.

DeNigris began his career as a police officer in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a position he held for 16 years, before he decided to go to law school. He worked for a year for the Court of Appeals in Florida, and also worked as a trial attorney at a federal agency for a time. In 1995, he started his private practice in Washington, D.C., which he intends to keep if he is elected; he also practices in Albany County.

He was concerned when he learned that town residents were questioning his dismissal from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, allegedly due to the use of inappropriate language over a CB radio.

“That was 25 years ago,” DeNigris said. “I made a mistake.”

He said the incident made him who he is today.

“I stick up for the rights of police officers and employees who are treated unfairly,” he said. “If you take a look at my professional career since that time, it’s been impeccable.”

DeNigris sought the endorsement in Guilderland of the Democratic Party, but did not receive it, stating he felt the party was not receptive to change.

His biggest concern, he said, is the crowding of the court.

He would propose working in the town court for eight hours per day, three days per week.

DeNigris told The Enterprise several times, both in a letter to the editor and in an interview before the primary election, that the current town judges only work four days per month, leading to a backlog.

“I would be holding court three days a week and taking away from my own practice in D.C. to do so,” DeNigris said. “If the other judges are not willing to pick up the slack — they’re only working four days per month — then we have a different problem.”

The town board would have to approve operating the town court during daytime hours, but DeNigris said he did not see that being a problem, since he believes it would be to the town’s benefit.

He also said he would try to establish alternate court locations, would not accept any type of pay raise greater than the current salary, and would not accept full-time benefits.

“This is probably the best chance the Republican committee has of making inroads,” he said of his candidacy.