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November 5, 2012

Becker challenger: Judges should show 'dispassion'

Incumbent Delaware County Court Judge Carl Becker, a Republican, is being challenged for a 10-year term by Margaretville lawyer and Middletown Court Judge Gary Rosa, a Democrat, in Tuesday’s general election.

Becker, who lives in Stamford, was elected to the position in 2002. His major accomplishment was the establishment of the Delaware County Drug Court, he said. It provides intensive rehabilitation and supervision for crimes that are substance abuse related. This gives people who commit such crimes an opportunity to develop skills that allow them to be productive members of society. It has advantages over traditional jail sentences for these types of crimes and costs a lot less to operate. The first such case was heard in 2005.

The main reason people should vote for him is experience, he said. Before his decade as judge, he served several villages and towns as attorney, developing expertise in issues relating to the New York City Watershed. From 1974-2002, he was assistant county attorney, assigned primarily to the Department of Social Services. This provided him with experience working in Family Court that has led to a commitment and passion to working in that court. Working with DSS, “I know what they can do because I know the system.”

If elected, he can’t complete his term, because term limits don’t allow judges to serve past the end of the year when they turn 70. For Becker that will be 2018. But that should not be an issue because a new person will run for a full term starting the following year, Becker said.

With a large case load before him, Becker has been known to push lawyers to get their cases done. “There is a time to say we’ve heard enough,” he said. “You need to assert your authority at times to make sure lawyers are prepared.”

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