Courtroom In Hudson Valley Named After Judge Who Died From Heart Attack In Court

A bill renaming a Hudson Valley courtroom after a judge who died of a heart attack while in court has been signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul. 

Judge James Reitz

Judge James Reitz

Photo Credit: YouTube

The bill, which names a courtroom in the Putnam Supreme and County Court after the late Putnam County Court Judge James F. Reitz, was signed on Monday, Dec. 19, according to the New York State Legislature. 

The renamed room, Room 301, will now be known as the "Judge James F. Reitz Memorial Courtroom," according to a spokesperson for Sen. Pete Harckham. 

Reitz died on June 14, 2019 at the age of 57 after suffering a heart attack while handling a family law court matter. Court officials had been unable to revive him with CPR and a defibrillator, and he was pronounced dead just after arriving at the hospital. 

Reitz's wife, Barbara Reitz, was in attendance in the New York Senate when the bill was successfully passed in May 2022, officials from Harckham's office said. 

In addition to Barbara, Reitz is also survived by his children Alyssa, Jaime, and Michael, six grandchildren, and several other family members. 

He was a lifelong resident of Putnam County and graduated from Carmel High School before earning his law degree from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Reitz then went on to serve as a Carmel Town Justice from 1996 to 2006 before he was elected as a Putnam County Court Judge in 2007, according to Harckham's office. 

Reitz's wife said that naming the courtroom after him was an honor to Reitz's memory. 

"This honor goes beyond any legacy of any one person I will ever know," she said, also saying, "Jim’s lifetime journey centered in Putnam County and most specifically the county seat of Carmel. His lifelong friendships became strong family relationships, and that spirit endures right here in the community that he loved so much. He bound us together through his love, and for all who knew him the naming of this courtroom is just an incredible honor." 

Harckham also praised Reitz's legacy. 

"Judge Reitz was a beloved figure, whose professionalism, integrity and compassion on and off the bench brought him renown from around the state," he said, adding, "His remarkable service to his community and love for his family stand as an example to us all, and I am very happy to know that his memory will live on in the Putnam Supreme and County Court."

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