A new role for Judge Zambelli today

Westchester Judge Barbara Zambelli (left) has overseen some of the most brutal murder trials in the county. In the last five years, she was the judge for Carlos Perez-Olivo and Werner Lippe, both convicted of killing their wives; for Anne Trovato, who fatally stabbed and beat her mother; and for Robert Sepe, who beat his live-in girlfriend to death with a baseball bat.

But today, Zambelli, an Eastchester resident, will be presiding over much a more pleasant occasion. She will be one of three judges performing gay marriages at Town Hall in Greenburgh, which opens at noon for couples to get licenses. She will join state Supreme Court Justice Mary Smith and Greenburgh Town Justice Arlene Gordon-Oliver in what promises to be a festive atmosphere in Town Hall.

Although Zambelli has a reputation as being a no-nonsense judge (“Oh, come on!” is a phrase she uses with overzealous attorneys), her willingness to give up part of her Sunday to be a wedding officiant may stem from her former role in social justice. She was the executive director of Mount Vernon’s Commission of Human Rights from 1978 to 1980, and worked with Mount Vernon police, Victims Assistance Services and the District Attorney’s Office to create an advocacy program for women who were victims of violence.

We’ll be covering the first day of legalized gay marriage in New York from Greenburgh Town Hall, so check back with LoHud.com for photos and stories.

Rebecca Baker

Rebecca Baker joined The Journal News in March 2004. She covers Eastchester, Bronxville and Tuckahoe, and was previously the state and county courts reporter in Westchester County. In prior jobs, she covered the Town of Greenburgh and Rockland County government and politics. Before coming to The Journal News, she was a municipal reporter for newspapers in New Haven, Conn. and Warren, Ohio.