Piazza Announces Family Court Candidacy

Jamestown attorney and Kiantone resident Jeffrey A. Piazza has announced his candidacy for the second Chautauqua County Family Court judge position.

A lifelong resident of Chautauqua County, Piazza has been in private practice with Charles T. Hall since his admission to the New York State Bar in 1993. Piazza said as Family Court judge, he will bring his knowledge and experience as a Family Court attorney to all matters facing children and families in Chautauqua County.

“For 20 years I have represented children and families in Chautauqua County Family Court. These cases involved custody, visitation, neglect, abuse, juvenile delinquency and persons in need of supervision,” Piazza said. “By far the most rewarding part of my practice has been my involvement with the Attorney for the Child Program representing children through the Family Court process. I have seen firsthand the tremendous need for a second Family Court judge in Chautauqua County.”

Piazza is a member of the New York State Bar association and the Jamestown Bar Association. He serves on the board of directors of WCA Hospital and is a member of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. He is a past two-term board member of the Jamestown YMCA and of the YMCA Camp Onyahsa. Piazza was the 2002 co-chair of the professional division for the United Way’s annual fund drive. He attends New Creation Assembly of God and resides in Kiantone with his wife of 21 years, Evelyn, daughter Ally and son Billy, both of whom attend Frewsburg High School. He is presently serving his fifth two-year term as supervisor of the town of Kiantone.

Last month, the state Senate and Assembly reached an agreement to double the number of Family Court judges in Chautauqua County from one to two. The long-sought agreement, which includes the allocation of 25 new Family Court judgeships across the state, eases pressure on lawmakers who risked not reaching a consensus by the end of the legislative session in June – an outcome that would have wasted the funds appropriated for Family Court judges in the 2014-15 budget. For nearly 20 years, the Chautauqua County Family Court in Mayville has had to endure the alarming trend of skyrocketing caseloads amidst scant personnel. With only one judge, the court is often unable to adjudicate cases quickly, leaving many families trapped in a state of limbo over sensitive issues, like child neglect, abuse, foster care and juvenile delinquency. Typically, Chautauqua County’s Family Court caseload is around 4,000 cases per year, but last year it grew to approximately 9,000 cases. The new Family Court judge will be elected in November’s general election.

Last week, local attorneys Sally A. Jaroszynski, James J. Spann and Michael J. Sullivan also announced their candidacy for the newly created judge position. Jaroszynski is a resident of the town of Ellicott and she is seeking endorsements from the Democratic, Independence, Conservative and Working Families parties. She is employed by the Chautauqua Region Law Center as legal director.

Westfield resident Spann is seeking the Democratic nomination. Spann has operated a private practice in Dunkirk since his admission to the New York State Bar in 1985. Sullivan has practiced law in New York since 1985 and has maintained his law office at 7 E. Main St. in Fredonia since 1991. He has acted as the county liaison to the Appellate Court’s Attorney for the Child program for almost 20 years.