Off The Floor And On The Bench

Attorney Fred Larson was sworn-in Monday as Jamestown’s second full-time city court judge.

Larson, a 37-year practicing attorney who was nominated by Mayor Sam Teresi after former part-time judge George Panebianco declined the full-time judgeship, was joined at the ceremony by Teresi, City Court Judge John LaMancuso, former City Court Judge Sam Alessi and Larson’s wife, Wendy, and son, Peter.

Retired Supreme Court Judge Joseph Gerace conducted the swearing-in at the courtroom bench of city court.

“I’m excited to have a new career in public service,” Larson said. “My experience as an attorney and my experience in public life can all be brought together (in this job) to make the best decisions possible. I look forward to the new challenges … and helping to improve the quality of life here in Jamestown.”

Larson thanked the judges present for their example and counsel.

“Both (Judge Gerace and Judge Alessi) played an important role in my coming back to Jamestown in 1977,” Larson said. “Both of them were great role models for me … and my adult life has followed as closely as possible to the examples that these two fine judges (set).”

As for Judge LaMancuso, Larson described him as his “official mentor.”

The Unified City Court Act of 2013 created a second full-time judge position for the Jamestown City Court in order to alleviate its overwhelming caseload.

According to Teresi, the selection of a second judge was a “nerve-wracking” experience due to the large number of qualified candidates.

“I strongly believe that Mr. Larson is eminently qualified for this position,” remarked Teresi, shortly after Larson’s nomination in April. “I am convinced that through his firm but fair approach on the bench, he will continue to serve our community well and with distinction during the coming years.”

Larson is a graduate of Jamestown High School, Princeton University and the Yale Law School. He is a member of the Jamestown Bar Association, New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

He has served as an at-large City Council member from 1979-82, and as county attorney from 1998 through 2005. He served on the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities from 1979-89 and from 2008 to present. For the past seven years, Larson has been an adjunct faculty member at SUNY Fredonia where he teaches business law. He previously taught at JCC. Larson lives in Jamestown with his wife and two sons.

“Our Pledge of Allegiance ends with ‘liberty and justice for all,'” said Larson in his concluding remarks. “We lawyers and judges should be especially aware that the judge and court are central to making ‘liberty and justice for all’ as real as our society and our country can make it.”