BY RAQUEL OKYAY
Harbor Heights judge and soccer-mom, who is seeking a seat on the New York State Supreme Court, advocates for meaningful reform, fairness and accountability in the state’s judicial body.
“I can personally continue to contribute through this higher position; and can further my public service,” said Judge Christie L. Derrico of the Village of Mamaroneck Justice Court who is a candidate for election to the New York Supreme Court 9th Judicial District. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5.
In November of 2010 Derrico was elected to the Village of Mamaroneck Justice Court, becoming the village’s first female justice. Prior to this election, Derrico served as village attorney and also as a two-term village trustee.
The married mother of four children said being responsible for her court is an indicator of her abilities. “In the case of my court, by improving how it runs, this has allowed the court to better focus on the business at hand – the law – and the goals of expediency and fairness.”
“As village attorney, running and overseeing the Attorney’s Office, and now being responsible for my court, I have demonstrated my management skills and my ability to reorganize systems so they function more optimally,” said Derrico.
At the Village Attorney’s Office she was a contributing factor in reducing the village’s deductibles from $100,000 to $150,000 per claim for civil and police matters down to $10,000 to $15,000 per claim, respectively, she said.
During her tenure as trustee, she worked on the “I/I” or “Inflow & Infiltration” prevention programing which aimed to improve the water quality of the Long Island Sound, she said. “We also obtained grant monies for the community towards the water quality initiative.”
“I believe each job you perform gives a person an opportunity to show what they can accomplish,” she said. “I will bring those abilities to the Supreme Court.”
Her professional practice has covered a broad range of legal areas including but not limited to criminal and civil litigation, landlord/tenant, real estate transactions, land use, family law and adoptions, said Derrico who is a licensed attorney admitted to the bar in New York and New Jersey.
Serving as President of the Larchmont – Mamaroneck League of Women Voters for three years, she focused on the league’s development and modernization, she said. “I encouraged the league to participate in an immigration study and arranged environmental and voter forums as well as league candidate debates.”
Effective and strategic leadership allowed the women’s group to implement new programs and improve its agenda, said the Brooklyn Law school graduate.
A few of Derrico’s contributions to the community include; class mom, travel soccer coach and pro-bono attorney for Latino organizations such as the Hispanic Resource Center and Padres Unidos, respectively.
If elected to the Supreme Court, there are a variety of parts she may be assigned to; matrimonial, civil, and certiorari are just a few examples, said Derrico. “Whatever part I am in, I will rely upon my previously demonstrated skills to allow my courtroom to function appropriately and to allow me to be the best jurist I can be.”
Each case requires individual evaluation and consideration, she said. “No two cases are the same, and although we are bound by prior court and appellate decisions, judges must still scrutinize prior rulings and the law that is being applied.”
Laws may not be perfect, she said. “This illustrates that the judiciary is the third branch of government which provides as a check-balance.”
In speaking with the voters, she heard much constructive criticism of the system, said Derrico. “I hope to be a part of any reforms which may make the judicial system better.”