A City Court judge must have the right experience, skills and temperament to do the job properly. In addition to knowing the law, the judge must be certain those in court understand the law. The judge must make sure people's rights are protected and that those appearing before the bench show respect.
The three candidates for Gloversville City Court judge - Traci DiMezza, Matthew E. Trainor and current City Court Judge John N. Clo - all have good qualities. However, we encourage voters to keep Clo on the bench.
Clo, who was appointed in mid-December by Mayor Dayton King to fill out the term of retiring Judge Vincent DeSantis, will face DiMezza and Trainor in Thursday's Republican primary. The victor will have a strong chance of winning the general election in November.
Clo has a lot of experience. He received a law degree from Albany Law School in 1992 after a four-year stint in the Navy. With 20 years in law, he has experience in municipal, criminal and civil matters. He was Gloversville city attorney from 2004 to 2009, an assistant district attorney for Montgomery County from 1996 to 2011 and an attorney in private practice from 1993 until being appointed City Court judge.
He has shown a commitment to the community and is involved in numerous organizations. He has great enthusiasm for the job and an interest in making the punishment fit the crime. He aims to do what he can - legally and fairly - to address code violations and blight. He also recommends community service as punishment, when appropriate, in some court cases.
Every case that comes before the City Court judge is unique and should be treated as such, Clo said. He pointed out there is no "cookie- cutter" approach to passing a sentence.
It should be noted Trainor and DiMezza certainly are capable of serving as City Court judge.
DiMezza has practiced law for 17 years. Her general practice includes criminal law, real property law, landlord-tenant issues, wills, trusts and estates.
Trainor received a law degree in May 2000 from Albany Law School. He was admitted to the state bar in January 2001 and was an assistant district attorney until 2008, when he began a private practice. In 2010, he worked as Gloversville city attorney.
All three candidates have done things in the past that led to criticism.
Trainor faces federal and state civil lawsuits against him. The suits were filed by a woman who alleges she was falsely arrested and detained as a material witness in a 2007 domestic-violence case prosecuted by Trainor in Fulton County Court.
When Clo served as city attorney, he received a $5,260 buyout in 2008 that he was not entitled to, auditors from the state comptroller's office said.
DiMezza was publicly censured in 1999 by the Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District on charges of professional misconduct.
All of the candidates have offered explanations for those incidents.
While some voters will cast their ballot based on their personal relationship with a candidate, our endorsement of Clo is based on our discussions with all three candidates and our review of their records and experience.