BRIARCLIFF, N.Y. – Fred Weinstein remembers meeting other judges during his first year as the Village Justice in Briarcliff Manor in 1995. “I met guys who had been on the bench for 30 years,’’ Weinstein said after stepping down last month. “I can see how it can happen. It was very rewarding.”
Weinstein said he did not have “a preconceived notion” on how long he would serve when he was appointed to the position. He filled out that term, and ran unopposed every four years thereafter to retain his seat on the bench.
Weinstein said he enjoyed making a difference in the lives of many of the people who came to court. “Many of the defendants are first time offenders,’’ he said. “They got mixed up in drugs or alcohol, or were youthful offenders who had a lapse in judgment. The court has the opportunity and the resources to put that crisis behind them. I saw many times where individuals that were coping were given the tools to address those issues. The majority were not repeat offenders.”
He found the job gratifying, especially in dealing with youthful offenders. “It was working a lot with people who may have hit a tough patch, or young people who were leading exemplary lives but made a lapse in judgment,’’ he said. “That fact that we could respond, and did, was the source of gratification. A large number of people benefited from that approach.”
Weinstein mentioned the support of court clerk Rori Zirman and court officer Donald Gorey in maintaining efficiency. “It made it a pleasure to be a judge, and they helped you look good,’’ he said.
Weinstein, who is a partner in the law firm Kurzman, Eisenberg, Corbin and Lever in White Plains, said he’ll have time to pursue charitable activities. Among his recreational pursuits is running, and he has competed in the Briarcliff Has Heart Memorial Day Race. The event supports the Briarcliff Manor Public Library.
“I love the event and I’m looking forward to doing it this year,’’ he said. “My son works out of town and he’s managed to join me, it makes for a nice little family tradition. He’s usually waiting for me at the finish line. I’m a recreational runner, it’s a great way to get in shape.”
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