Warhit on track to be county judge

Indefatigable Greenburgh attorney Barry Warhit has been nominated by Gov. David Patterson to be a Westchester County Court judge.

Warhit, a longtime criminal defense lawyer who began his career as a young prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, would replace Judge Jeffrey Cohen, who moved up to Orange County when he was elected to the state Supreme Court last year.

Warhit has to be confirmed by the New York State Senate before he dons the black robe. He’s been a part-time acting judge in local courts, including White Plains City Court, where I once appeared before him with an expired vehicle inspection ticket. The look he gave me can only be described as “What are YOU doing here?!” But in all fairness, I received no special treatment. My ticket was dismissed with several others once we showed proof of inspection.

If approved, Warhit would have to run for judge in the next election to keep the job permanently. And he may already have competition. A Mount Vernon lawyer named Doug Martino is campaigning to get on the Republican and Conservative ballot lines. Whoever wins, I hope they give me good quotes at sentencings.

UPDATE: Irvington Village Justice Lawrence Ecker also has been nominated to serve as a state Supreme Court Justice, according to the governor’s office. He would replaced Joseph Alessandro, who was removed from the bench last year for alleged misconduct relating to a loan to his 2003 campaign. Ecker is a partner in in his own law firm.