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Retired NY judge objects to renaming courthouse after another retired judge

Posted Apr 22, 2014 6:30 AM CDT
By Mark Hansen

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The naming of an upstate New York county courthouse after one retired judge didn't go over well with another.

Retired Washington County Judge Philip Berke called the decision to name the county courthouse after retired state Supreme Court Justice Thomas E. Mercure a "slap in the face" to other retired judges in the area, the Associated Press reports.

"I'm pretty ticked off," Berke told the county Board of Supervisors last week as it considered the matter. "This has taken a lot out of me."

Berke said he had nothing against Mercure. But he said other retired judges—presumably including himself—also deserved recognition for having had long and distinguished judicial careers.

Mercure, who retired last month, was the longest-serving trial court judge in the district. He also served as the county's district attorney and as its youngest elected county judge.

Berke retired as a county court judge in 2006. He also served as the county's district attorney and as Granville town justice.

Two current county judges sent letters of support for the naming of the courthouse after Mercure.

Berke's objections to the move fell on deaf ears with the county board, which went on to rename the courthouse after Mercure.

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