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Bill Hart running for Geneva City Court judge

The city will have a new supervising city judge come 2020, with the impending retirement of Justice Timothy Buckley.

Fellow Democrat Bill Hart wants to succeed him. Hart announced in a press release that he is running for the seat.

He is expected to face off against Republican Elisabeth “Lisa” Toole. Toole has not made an announcement related to her candidacy, but Paul D’Amico, who is leading the city Republicans’ selection committee, confirmed she is running.

Below is the letter sent out by Hart following his announcement:

After 43 plus years of dedicated and honorable public service as Geneva City Court Judge and Assistant District Attorney, Judge Timothy J. Buckley has advised me that he will not be seeking reelection this year. Therefore, after careful consideration, and with the encouragement of my family and friends, I am respectfully seeking the office of Geneva City Court Judge.

Geneva City Court is one of the busiest courts in Ontario County, and it is imperative that the next judge be able to manage a significant caseload fairly, firmly and efficiently. My 30 plus years as an attorney, the last 25 as an Assistant District Attorney primarily assigned to our local courts, most notably Geneva City Court, have prepared me for this important position. Over the last quarter century, I have handled more cases in the local courts of this County and the City of Geneva than any other attorney or judge. The safety of our community has been the EXCLUSIVE focus of my professional career since former District Attorney Mike Tantillo appointed me as a County Prosecutor in 1994.

Since I was appointed an Assistant District Attorney in 1994, I have served as primary prosecutor in both Geneva City Court (1995 to present) and Canandaigua City Court (1994 to 2008), as well as other town and village courts in the County. In 2000, I was a member of a team led by now-retired Canandaigua City Court Judge Stephen Aronson that established the innovative Finger Lakes Drug Treatment Court, and served as a prosecutor in the Court from its inception until 2014.

Personally, I have been married to Kelly Cecere Hart for nearly nineteen years, and am the proud father to Erin and Joey. I am very involved in the Geneva community. I am a life-long parishioner of Our Lady of Peace Parish, a life member of the Nester Hose Company of the Geneva Fire Department, a current member of the Sons of Italy in America Geneva Lodge 2397, Sons of the American Legion Winnek Post 396 and Knights of Columbus Council 272. My family and I are involved with Finger Lakes Youth Sports (Challenger Sports) and Happiness House. I was also a coach with Geneva Little League and served on the board of the City of Geneva Industrial Development Agency.

As a criminal defense attorney at the beginning of my career, my role was to protect the rights of my client and to seek the best possible result for him or her. As a prosecutor, my ethical obligation has been to seek justice, not to secure convictions. As a Judge, my obligation will be to insure that justice is achieved, always while protecting the rights of defendants and crime victims.

As I have been out collecting signatures to get on the ballot, I have been heartened by the broad support I have received across all party lines. I look forward to meeting more residents and discussing my qualifications for this important position.