State court administration’s loss is Russia’s gain

Times Union, NY
March 24 2004

State court administration’s loss is Russia’s gain

Albany– Tireless Joseph Traficanti Jr., who oversaw operations in 57
counties, takes on challenge overseas

By MICHELE MORGAN BOLTON, Staff reports

Joseph Traficanti Jr. was known for his sterling character, keen
intellect and tireless enthusiasm in his 13 years as an Office of
Court Administration deputy administrative judge, his soon to be
ex-boss said Tuesday.
The 61-year-old Kingston resident oversaw court operations in 57
counties outside New York City, staffed by more than 3,000 judges and
6,000 court personnel, and always took on additional work cheerfully,
Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman said.

But now he’ll use those skills to help developing nations establish a
solid court structure, Lippman said. Traficanti announced his
departure for a career with the U.S. Agency for International
Development project in Russia — and the World Bank project in
Armenia.

“I really am leaving the best job in the world,” Traficanti said
Tuesday. “But if I’m ever going to do something different, it’s
time.”

Traficanti said he knows he will be leaving tangible proof of his
efforts behind.

The court-mandated drug treatment initiative he led now numbers 114
alternative-to-incarceration programs statewide, with another 71 in
various planning stages.

Sharp reductions in criminal and civil caseload backlogs, as well as
alternative dispute resolution initiatives across the state also made
a difference, he said: “This is a new mountain to climb. It’s
frightening and exciting.”

Albany County Judge Stephen W. Herrick called Traficanti’s departure
a great loss.

Herrick has run the county drug court since February 2002, a program
he also started in Albany City Court in 2000.

“I don’t know how anyone can replace him,” Herrick said. “He’s just a
wonderful human being.”

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Judith Kaye added: “I have no doubt that
his vast experience in court administration will be a great asset to
other nations in the fledgling stages of democracy and in modernizing
their judicial systems.”

Traficanti began his career as the town attorney of the town of
Rochester. He also served in the Ulster County district attorney’s
office and conducted a private practice.

He ascended to the bench in 1982 as Ulster County surrogate judge and
has served as acting state Supreme, County and Family Court justice.

He leaves for Russia in May.

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