Incumbent town justice Ilan Gilbert is seeking reelection for a second term in the November election. He said wants to run again because he loves his jobs and serving the community. Earlier this week, he received the Yorktown Democratic Committee .
Gilbert was appointed to Town Justice in 2006 to fill in for judge Cohen who went to serve in the Westchester County Court. Gilbert was elected for the position in 2007 and has presided over criminal, vehicle and traffic, and civil matter cases. He is the senior judge for the town court due to his long tenure.
For the past 29 years he has served in the Supreme Court in the Bronx as principal court attorney. His responsibilities include guiding the judge to make the proper ruling, adjudicating cases, advising judges, as well as researching and drafting memoranda of law court orders and decisions.
"The judge's job is to make sure the laws are followed," Gilbert said. "That's the most fulfilling part."
An area of concern, Gilbert said is the issues youths are facing, from suicides to drugs. Gilbert is a partner of Alliance for Safe Kids and the Yorktown Youth Court and said that when he first moved to Yorktown 20 years ago, he was involved with a telethon to raise money for the current .
Another area of concern to the community is the of cases waiting to be heard at the Yorktown Court.
"There is no backlog about criminal matters or civil matters," Gilbert said. "If anyone wants to bring a lawsuit to the town of Yorktown, there is no delay."
However, he said, there is a backlog of traffic tickets and there always has been one for decades.
"It's not something judges have control over it," he said.
In 2006, the state did not want to pay overtime for state troopers to prosecute their cases and the town was required to provide methods to deal with the issued traffic tickets, Gilbert said. At first the tickets weren't prosecuted until the current board decided to appoint a prosecutor. The town receives a share of the profit from the traffic tickets.
Back in January town board members began discussions about how to deal with the 5,000 traffic ticket backlog. The two Yorktown court judges, Gilbert and Salvatore Lagonia, were to put in extra hours to deal with the backlog by the fall. Effective Jan. 2, they were required to add additional hours of vehicle and traffic court to their weekly sessions. In addition, they were to provide an all day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., sessions during the months ahead.
"It appears that the backlog will be eradicated by the end of the year with the new plan," Gilbert said.
During bad economic times, there are more petit larceny, foreclosures and civil matters the court deals with, he said. Gilbert also spoke about the Town of Yorktown Court's reputation.
"We have one of the finest courts and I'm proud to say that," he said, adding that in the state's second highest court, the Appellate Division of Supreme Court of the State of New York, two judges used to preside as Yorktown court judges.
The Yorktown Justice Court currently has two presiding judges, Ilan Gilbert and Salvatore Lagonia. Each term is four years and court judges work on a fixed salary set at $28,935 per year.
"I will be tough when I deem it necessary, but always fair and just," Gilbert said.
He lives in Yorktown and has five children, ages 9, 10, 15, 19 and 21, who either currently attend Yorktown schools or have gone through the school system.
Gilbert graduated from SUNY Binghamton, with a BA in political science in 1978, and graduated from Hofstra University School of Law, J.D. with distinction in 1982.
He will face off , Republican, in the November election.
Stay tuned with Patch as we follow the election.