Allen Smith gets GOP nod for re-election for town justice

05/13/2012 2:00 PM |

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Allen Smith at his law offices in Riverhead last week.

The Riverhead Republican Committee nominated incumbent Town Justice Allen Smith last week to run for another four-year term.
Judge Smith, 68, who was first elected in 2000, has a term that doesn’t run in regular town election years because he was elected to fill a term vacated by the death of Henry Saxtein, and a state Court of Appeals ruling in an upstate case determined that town justices must be elected to full four-year terms, not just the remainder of the term of their predecessor.

As a result, Judge Smith’s seat is the only town position up for election this fall.

“I enjoy the job thoroughly,” Judge Smith said of the part-time role. “It’s intellectually stimulating.”

Prior to being a judge, Mr. Smith served as Riverhead Town supervisor, town attorney, a member of the Riverhead school board, a Suffolk County deputy attorney, and a county personnel officer. He also has a private law practice.

He’s been a member of the Riverhead Fire Department since 1978.

In 2010, Judge Smith was named Judge of the Year by the Suffolk County Criminal Bar Association, the first time that honor ever went to a town justice. He’s also been instrumental in establishing the East End Regional Intervention Court, commonly called “drug court,” with Southampton Town Justice Deborah Kooperstein six years ago.

There was no opposition to Judge Smith’s nomination Wednesday, said Riverhead Republican Committee chairman John Galla.

“Our Riverhead committee believes that judge Smith has proven himself to be extraordinary jurist,” Mr. Galla said. “Fair, firm. These are the hallmarks of Judge Smith.”

Riverhead Democratic chairman Vinny Villella said Tuesday that the Democrats have decided not to run a candidate against Judge Smith.

“He’s doing a tremendous job,” Mr. Villella said. “Why should we run somebody against him?”

The Democrats also did not Judge Smith in his prior two elections. and cross-endorsed him in 2004.

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