Judge Kelly and the Athlete

State Supreme Court Justice William Kelly  reminisced a bit between cases on Wednesday morning.

His inspiration was Henry Villejas, who completed nearly two years in a drug rehabilitation program in lieu of jail. Kelly sentenced him to three-years probation on a low drug possession charge as part of the drug rehabilitation program DeTAP.  

Noting Villejas had a DWI charge during rehab and some relapses, Kelly strongly suggesting that  Villejas take this non-prison sentence as a second chance to remain clean and keep his life drug and crime-free. He also spoke to Villejas about his future plans, including getting licensed to cut hair.

After Villejas left the courtroom, Kelly started talking about him as an athlete during his high school years.

Kelly told lawyers and court personnel how  years ago Villejas and his son Michael met in a high school championship wrestling match – a battle of middleweights, the judge said. Villejas represented North Rockland and Kelly’s son Clarkstown.

“My son pinned him,” Kelly said with pride, but with respect for Villejas abilities on the mat. “That was quite a night.”

Kelly also said Villejas “was an outstanding baseball player, all-county shortstop,” on high school.

And then the judge went back to his criminal calendar.

Steve Lieberman

Steve Lieberman joined The Journal News as an editor in February 1984 and became a reporter during the spring of 1986. He has covered police, courts and legal issues for more than a decade, after reporting on county, town, village and state governments and general issues. He received more than a dozen state awards for writing and reporting. Born and raised in The Bronx, he has lived in Rockland since 1988.