(Editor's Note: Patch asked the three candidates running for two New Castle Town Justice seats to answer some questions. In this installment, Democratic incumbents Douglas Kraus and David Zuckerman respond, in the form of a submission of their campaign statement explaining why they are running. The statement was sent in response to Patch questions, including why they are running, what they felt were significant contributions made, further changes they would like to make, whether they regret handling of cases and what are important attributes in a town justice.)
Dear New Castle Resident:
We write to ask for your support in the election of two New Castle Town Justices on Election Day, November 8, 2011.
We seek your support based on our qualifications and our legal experience, our job performance as your incumbent Town Justices, and our long-standing commitment to public service and the Town of New Castle.
Our Qualifications and Experience
Judge Douglas M. Kraus is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (magna cum laude) and the University of Chicago Law School, where he was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Following law school, he joined the firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in New York City, where he became a partner in the litigation department. In a career spanning nearly four decades, he handled a wide range of matters in state and federal trial and appellate courts across the country, including the United States Supreme Court. He has served as New Castle Town Justice since 1994, having been elected five times to the position.
Judge David S. Zuckerman is a graduate of SUNY Binghamton and Boston University Law School, where he was an editor of the International Law Journal. He began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx, and then founded the law firm of Zuckerman & Cruz. He served as New Castle Town Prosecutor for 16 years before being elected Town Justice in 2007. He has also sat as an acting judge in some of Westchester’s busiest courts, including Yonkers, Mount Vernon, White Plains and Yorktown.
Our Job Performance
We work diligently as your Town Justices to ensure that the Town Court serves our community fairly and efficiently. We make it a point to deal courteously with all persons who appear before us. Because we believe it is essential that every person who appears in our court feels the she or he has been treated fairly, we afford every party a full and complete opportunity to be heard. Since justice delayed is truly justice denied, we rule promptly on all matters and explain our rulings in written decisions. We have also been innovative in court operations: At no cost to the Town, we acquired new software enabling us to streamline case processing and reduce waiting time for those appearing personally at our Clerk’s office. Our improved software also enables us to accept credit cards for bail and fine payments, with no card vendor fees paid by the Town. We obtained court security equipment, also at no cost to the Town. We created an internship program for high school students interested in the law; and we improved our community service program. As a result of these efforts, the New Castle Justice Court enjoys a reputation as one of the finest local courts in New York State.
Our Commitment to New Castle and to Public Service
We share a strong commitment to our Town and to public service, both in Town and within the legal profession.
Judge Kraus has lived in the Town for 54 years, attended local schools and graduated from Horace Greeley High School, as did both of his children. He has previously served on the New Castle Town Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals, and is a former director of the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund, the New York Legal Aid Society and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. He also chaired his law firm’s Pro Bono Committee for many years.
Judge Zuckerman has lived in the Town for 23 years. Both his children attended local schools and are Greeley graduates. He is a volunteer EMT for the Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps and past chair of the New Castle Drug Abuse Prevention Council. He has also served as a soccer and Little League coach, and coached the Horace Greeley High School Mock Trial Team.
We have enjoyed being your Town Justices and would like to continue to serve you in this capacity.
We believe we are the best qualified candidates for the job, and ask for your support on Election Day, November 8, 2011.
Hon. Douglas M. Kraus Hon. David S. Zuckerman