Senate votes on new chief judge nominee

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ALBANY, NY (WENY) — Following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s decision to advance Governor Kathy Hochul’s Chief Judge nomination, Rowan Wilson, for the Court of Appeals, the Senate votes on the floor.

In the nominee’s three-hour confirmation hearing Monday, some lawmakers raised issue with his prosecution history.

In March, the Court of Appeals, in which Wilson served as Associate Judge, overturned a rape conviction for a defendant because of procedural delays.

Some Republican lawmakers were concerned about the level of support from Democratic lawmakers across the aisle.

“They’re putting in as the top of the New York State Court system, someone who I think is arguably the most dangerous from a thinking standpoint, from a philosophical standpoint, from a legal standpoint, the most dangerous chief judge that we’ve seen maybe ever, certainly in a very long time,” said Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt (R-62nd Senate District).

During questioning Wilson responds the decision was important to uphold New Yorker’s constitutional rights to a speedy trial–which guarantees the public the right to a trial without unnecessary delay.

“The problem is that to vindicate those rights for all of us, you have to do damage in an individual case,” Wilson said.

Some Democratic lawmakers said it was a difficult case and agree with Wilson’s reasoning behind the overturn decision.

“I think Judge Wilson was prepared to take every question from Democrats and Republicans about that case which was troubling to the extent that the district attorney waited years to pursue justice,” said Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D-47th Senate District).

Just before 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Senate voted 40-19 confirming Judge Wilson for the Chief Judge role for the New York State Court of appeals making him the first Black man to lead the state’s court system.


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