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Judge resigns to reclaim DA position

May 05, 2011 1:15 pm

Columbia County Judge Paul Czajka submitted his resignation Wednesday, stepping down from the bench after 16-years to attempt to become county district attorney again. Czajka was county DA from 1987 to 1994, before being elected judge. “My resignation is a decision I did not take lightly,” he said in a press release. “I fervently believe, however, that I can better serve the unfortunate victims of crimes, our citizens, and the taxpayers of Columbia County as our district attorney.... If I’ve learned nothing else during my career in law enforcement and the judicial systems of Columbia County, it is that the single most important position in the county for implementation of justice is that of district attorney.” Judge Czajka will seek the endorsement of the Columbia County Republican Committee, the Columbia County Independence Party Committee, and the Columbia County Conservative Party Committee for the November 8 election. The judge, who has nearly four years remaining on his second 10-year judicial term, says he wants to cut waste in the district attorney’s office with a smaller staff, and improved training and communication. “Simply put,” Judge Czajka said, “if I am elected, I will personally investigate crime and assist police officers in their investigations, personally go to court, and personally prosecute crimes. All of my assistant DAs will do so as well. This will result in greater leadership, accountability and responsibility that, with hard work, will spread throughout the county.” Czajka lives on a dairy farm in Livingston. Website forums, which typically have skeptical views of judges, contain negative reviews for the Judge here and here. Someone working for the Judge provided the YouTube video above from the Judge's announcement this morning, Thu. May 5 in front of the Columbia County Courthouse. Andrew Amelinckx, who attended the press conference, reports in the Register-Star that, "the current DA, Beth Cozzolino, announced her intention to seek reelection in January, around the same time that another former DA, Eugene Keeler, also announced. With Czajka gone, Judge Jonathan Nichols, himself running for the Supreme Court in New York’s Third Judicial Department, is the only county judge. Gov. Andrew Cuomo can appoint a judge to the position until next January, when an elected judge would then step in."
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