judge kate doyle

Last night after the budget presention from the Law Department, I was reminded of the Surrogate Court Judge debate happening over at the Albany Public Library. I hooked a ride up the hill with Mr. Herring and arrived just a couple of minutes late for what was the most congenial “debate” I’ve ever attended. Are ya wondering why? Well, even though there are three candidates in that race, Margaret Adkins, Kate Doyle and Helena Heath Roland….only two showed for the debate.

Guess which two. (Hey, I already told you it was congenial!)

First, I’ve got to tell you that library auditorium was the coldest I’ve ever felt it and I’ve spent a lot of time in there…come on library, you built all those new libraries and you leave this one to die a slow death.

(Aside: I was in the library the other day when a guy came in looking like a journalist….camera in tow. He saddled up to a table and watched the goings on. With telephone calls being loudly conducted, people sleeping, folks walking like they are in a carnival…chatting it up…did I say loudly. The guy seemed stunned as he watched each time us quiet patrons gazed in the direction of one of the parties. Then he went to the desk and had them call down the Director. Seems he knew her and I overheard her saying something like “oh, don’t look at this library….go look at the lovely libraries we just built. I got the feeling he was noting the carnival atmosphere taking over the main library. I guess this journalist guy left to go look at the prettier and more polite parts of the library system. Why can’t this be fixed, it’s frustrating that the library in our neighborhood is out of control.)

So, the frozen solid debaters sat beside a frozen solid facilitator from the League of Women Voters and 17 freezing people in the audience listened to each of the candidates “debate.” Since I was a little late, I’m going to have to start from the point I entered.

Each was asked how has their prior experience has helped them prepare to be Surrogate Judge. Ms. Adkins was up first and she explained that as a lawyer, she has prepared wills and trusts, she has the education and training and has been a town judge. Kate politely says, she has been in Surrogate Court 21 years and prior to that she was with the District Attorney’s office and in her current role she has also acted judicial in Supreme Court.

The next question is something about an APA which both candidates “together” first, figure out what this audience member’s question is and the, together they explain that it has nothing to do with Surrogate Court. (If you followed that link you know that the APA has nothing to do with the Adirondacks but everything to do with the Administrative Procedures Act governing how things are done within agencies.) According to these two extremely distinguished debaters, the Surrogate Court operates based on that big green book of rules Kate Doyle carries in her purse, the New York Estates, Powers and Trusts Law and a whole library of other stuff but not the APA which applies to agencies.

The facilitator asks each what shortcomings each had to overcome to be a good judge….both answer…patience. Seems that “ditto” was the response of the evening as each shake and shiver in the cold air.  What will you do about the length of time it takes for cases?” Kate takes a breath and in her exhale she says…”nothing.” (I’m sure HHR would have aggressively sought to shorten that time frame to rounds of cheering from her easily manipulated devotees.) Kate goes on to say that there is a misconception that cases go on and on for years. While some are settled in a day, they must wait a specific amount of time to “age.” Some cases are very complicated with many lawyers representing many people…each is entititled to discovery and sometimes that takes a long time. Sometimes they don’t find out for years that gramma wasn’t paying her income tax and that is something that would play into the decision. Margaret Adkins…”ditto.”

Next up, “what if no will exists?” From Margaret, “there are administrative procedures with deal with situations where no will exists and she believes that most people in New York have wills. Kate Doyle notes that there is a default statute and the legislature has defined how the assets of a decedent (the dead person) are distributed. They are asked what the biggest challenge of Surrogate’s Court is and both answered families. The families are often fighting. Kate tells the story of a large family where the IRS found assets of 60 Million (she notes, there’s no telling how much was really there.) She left the courtroom for a few moments and the guards came running after her “what do we do???” Kate ran back to the courtroom to find the ninety something mother strangling the sixty something daughter on the floor. Yes, things get testy in the courtroom.

Both are asked what the biggest issue impacting Surrogate Court in this day and age. Both answer it’s the “economy” stupid. (Naw, I stole that line from one of my favorite political guys.) Anyway, Margaret goes on to note that in the current economy there are more people being evicted and there are a lot of real estate sales…where people used to get along they are more combative now. Kate “dittos” and adds, “back in the sixties, you’d see siblings overlooking an uneven distribution but today they fight over every penny.”

The facilitator wants to know what makes each candidate more qualified than the other. Ms. Adkins smiles and says, “I’m differently qualified.” Yup, she’s a pip. Kate, notes, “ditto. We both have qualities we would bring to the bench.” Now they are asked, “how would you improve the court system. Kate notes that, in her position as a judge in surrogate court, they can do very little about the system as a whole. Each notes, they would make their own court the very best that it can be. Margaret adds, that the higher up the food chain the harder it is to make changes. She would like a better the dissemination of information and increased online resources. This, she notes, takes resources.

In closing Adkins hopes that Albany County will consider her for Surrogate Court judge and noted that there is a choice for our voters. Ten years ago, Kate had ever line on the ballot, this decade, you have an option…then she turns to Kate and says “I shold ask you how you feel about the rent.”

Hey, I like this chick’s sense of humor.

Kate closes with her feelings on the race. “We aren’t political, we have nothing to do with legislation…while I’ve been here I have gotten three calls from a husband and sons wondering when dinner will be…but this is important.” As a Surrogate Judge, “I stand in the stead of the decedent and it is a challenge to hold society together until this economy turns around.” She is up to that challenge…as soon as she cooks dinner!


Correction: You all know my whole world is City of Albany, right! This is only the City’s breakdown. But, I understand that with only 600 or so more ballots, she’s still ahead. Sorry, I was posting between meetings!!

With the absentee ballots counted, Judge Doyle, the lovely Kate, has the majority of votes.

Absentee Breakdown:
Doyle: 254
HHR: 157
Carr: 150

Doyle: 6663
HHR: 5751
Carr: 6117

Who’s your daddy?

Yeah, I know you’re all out there awaiting commentary. Need there be any from me? You used your voices last night. So, Googly, Carol DeMare, stayed up late and “covered” the Surrogate Court Judge race. Unfortunately, her coverage didn’t include voters calling the NYS BOE to complain about HHR’s assaulting them or anything about HHR’s tendency to stalk those in opposition to her. Nor did it include a candidate’s vote buying and it didn’t include the fact that the one endorsable candidate in the race (unendorsed by the TU) won even while “playing fair,” an oddity in Albany. The back story, Googly, is the story.

Carl Paladino eeked out  a win. (Will anyone ever listen to me?) My girl, Kathleen Rice, didn’t win the AG’s primary race but I didn’t think she would. Sorry Kathy…I should have gotten in contact but the Surrogate thing was consuming me. Senator Breslin won his bid but was there ever really a question? While I had a late night with Smithwicks and I’m not looking forward to trudging over to the Arbor Hill Bridge presser at 10:30, I know I’m having a better morning than Luke Marland and HHR.

Stay tuned, after I really wake up and get moving, I may have a few things to say.

A call was recieved on the Judge Doyle camp’s phone indicating that Judge Helena has assaulted a voter in the ninth ward. Of course, that voter has been directed to the State Board of Elections to report the assault. Hey, I told ya she was crazy!

Seems that the Judge was roaming about a 9th Ward polling place and approached a woman in the midst of voting, HHR asked the woman who she was voting for the woman responded, Kate Doyle. Immediately, HHR jerked her by the arm saying, “we can step outside and talk about it.”

This woman has reported the incident and so should you if you have had similar altercations or been offered “anything of value, even of nominal value” for your vote (even if it was yesterday). Contact the State Board of Elections.

So, I hear my girl Kate, the only qualified Surrogate candidate who did not resort to ILLEGALLY buying votes is pulling down some big numbers. (The dogs are even supporting her!) Turn out is sky high in the upper hemisphere….a good indicator and the powers that be are coming out in support of the lovely Kate.

Word on the street is that HHR (Helena Heath Roland, Steve) is, not unexpectantly, entering polling places and besides the usual “just saying hello” the word is that her line is “Hello, I’m HHR, running for Surrogate Court Judge and I’d love your vote.” Sounds like electioneering to me. Good thing she didn’t come into my polling place with that line. Here’s my question…..if we have poll watchers and they hear this stuff, what do they do? (Besides call ACO?) Isn’t the BOE supposed to have some hotline set up for issues with electioneering?

As I’m sure you’ve heard, I’ve got a stalker. She’s has a growing fascination with my neighborhood even though I’ve never seen her there the entire 3 years I’ve lived there. She showed up at my watering hole and then, at my invitation (or dare), she showed up at the Crown Plaza last night. Interestingly, as I was on my way to vote, I was told Judge HHR was hanging out at my coffee spot, the Daily Grind for a bit of the morning. (No, judgie, I breakfast at Lark Street Deli…afternoon ice coffee is at the Daily Grind…silly stalker.)

I voted the right way and had no problem at all with placing that vote. Get on out to your local polling place and place your vote for the right candidate…of course, that’s the candidate I’ve endorsed….Judge  Cathryn Doyle.

Remember way back to July 25th when I shared my thoughts on the three candidates in the Surrogate Court race? Yes? If not, I’ll wait a few minutes for you to catch up… here is post number one on the Surrogate Race. (I don’t think Googly was aware there was a Surrogate Court at the time.)

Welcome back. You noticed, in that post I pointed out that both camps had approached me to “help” their campaigns and whispered about the mysterious Doyle’s censure….one candidate in particular trapped me on the cobblestone street beside the Mayor’s office. I eyed the window of the corner hoping, just once, he’d look out to see the pressure applied on me to attack Judge Doyle on her censure. I asked one candidate why he would make a better judge than Doyle…his answer? “You know she was censured, don’t you?” He grew ever angrier when I insisted on knowing what made him “better.” (I was realizing, of course, that his personal behavior was worthy of censure.) After I insisted on an answer several times, his temper rose there was no answer.

You remember also in that first of several articles, I pointed out that a good judge is a fair judge. Judge Doyle was censured for “having ‘tude” in the protective mode of her friend Tom Spargo. She accepted the censure, she didn’t appeal it, she “did the time” and that is in the past. For BOTH candidates, who claim to be the fairest and most ethical candidate for the bench in Surrogate Court, to extend Doyle’s “sentence” of censure beyond the limits of the law tells me they are not only NOT fair and ethical but that they can’t bring dignity or integrity to the bench….much less experience.

So, since these folks took it upon themselves to bring up some history on Judge Doyle, I thought you’d like to know what the past of Murray Carr held. That was an affair with a client…grounds for disbarment.

To make matters worse, Carr handed off said client without explanation to another attorney for that attorney to discover the affair after a year and a half of doing battle. That’s not fair or ethical…heck, it’s not even legal…good thing it’s way in the past, huh, Murray? Ya, know, like the Doyle censure. Oh yeah, the only difference is that Murray committed a crime and didn’t do the time…Judge Doyle committed NO crime and did the time. Fair is fair….if, as I’m told, there’s more to this story…let’s hear it.

As for “Judge” Helena’s insistence that Judge Doyle wear the Scarlet C “for life” after being “evasive” when providing testimony on a situation which was insulting to her best friend and her character (again, I’d be under the jail if they had grilled me in the same way.) She claimed, as she was muscling me in the alley beside BJ’s office….”you know, he fell on his sword” for Doyle. “She’s been censured, do you know what that means?” Helena insisted, even though Doyle was not accused of any crime in what HHR called a “shakedown of lawyers,” that Doyle was guilty because of her association to Tom Spargo. Whew…I’m in big trouble if this traffic judge is right with her “guilty by association” claim!! (But not in as big a’trouble as she is!)

It’s that guilt by association and the inability of HHR to accept that Judge Doyle had “done her time” that pisses me off. Doyle’s snottiness was addressed and in the past….her relationship with Tom Spargo remains intact. Just like HHR’s relationship with her felon, husband, Baryon Roland. Now, I’ve had this information for some time but felt it was unfair to bring up the past (unlike the two less qualified dems in the race.) But, I’ve gotten several “tips” with information concerning USA v. Baryon Roland. Way back in 1994, Mr. HHR was arrested and convicted for “possession with intent to distribute cocaine.” Now, I don’t know the details (I wasn’t here) and an awful lot of the information has been “buried” but I have heard from a few folks, one whispered to me the other day that Baryon was dealing drugs out of the court house where he worked….the other, that Baryon was dealing out of the family home. In my mind, one or the other MUST be true.

I mean, a businessman must have a “real” base of operations when dealing in powdery substances…it’s not like ya can hide that kind of thing from the wife. (I know, I was married to a user a long time ago…I didn’t stay in the equation after I found out about it.) So, HHR must have known about the family business and still “stood” by her man who got three years of probation and 200 hours of community service…geez…for a felony? Think he knew someone?

I wouldn’t normally have brought this situation up…Baryon’s not running for office and it happened a long time ago…he did the crime and did his time. But, Mr. HHR is listed in all HHR’s bios as she boasts of her long term relationship with this felon…a felon which has, by the way, been spreading the word that “he’s gonna get ACO.” Oh, what’s worse, I hear that word’s being spread during his attendance at Sunday services…services I’m assuming he’s attending with his lovely omni-ethnic wife on his arm. Yeah, that’s the kinda gal ya want making decisions about the real intentions of your will.

If you ever plan on leaving this world from Albany County you better hope that the only Qualified Democratic Judge in the Surrogate Court race is sitting on that bench…Judge Kate Doyle.

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise…the Times Union didn’t “endorse” ACO’s candidate of choice in the Surrogate Court Judicial race, Judge Doyle. What a shock. First off, I consider the TU, the only print media in this area, ethically challenged for “endorsing” any candidate in any local race…what happened to unbiased? Just putting it on the “opinion” page doesn’t separate it from the news in the minds of many. Unfortunately, since the locals don’t have an alternative, the TU has taken advantage of their self-promoted “objective” reporting to support their “endorsement.”

Think of it this way…most peeps want to be on the side of the winner…the TU tells its readers who they are selecting as the winner and those “not in the know” vote for that candidate cause…the TU told them to. Now, I see the tide turning as I point out the lazy reporting and the obvious leanings of the paper but things are not changing quickly enough.

Politically, the TU is the handicapper with a “horse in the race.” I’ve got an idea the editorial board tossed out quite a few questions with the words “Albany Citizen One” in them to more than a couple of the judicial candidates. Seems the TU had an agenda with this endorsement, to stand by their flawed reporting throughout the Spargo trial and endorse in opposition to their nemesis…ACO. I’m flattered but this irresponsible “endorsement” is not in the best interest of the citizens.

Murray Carr certainly comes off as a good guy and viable alternative to the “best candidate they can’t select” but did they sit in courtrooms and watch him work? I think not because he doesn’t show up for much of it. The TU took the candidates’ word for their “qualities” rather than doing their research (except in their “research” of the irresponsible reporting of the Spargo trial and the IJEQC findings). I did my research, I showed up to try to catch Carr in action, I asked around, I caught him when he wasn’t in performance mode…he’s lazy, he’s an adulterer, he’s got quite a temper, he’s got a reputation for constant lackluster performance in court and he has absolutely NO experience as a judge.

Since the TU told us we have three Surrogate “seats” why would they now only select one of those three to endorse…why endorse a candidate in this race at all?

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