New York State Supreme Court judge, 10th District

Posted: Updated:

Ruth C. Balkin 
Republican

Background: Balkin, 66, of East Rockaway, is running on the Democratic and Republican party lines in the general election. She is the Associate Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, 2nd Department, Balkin was elected to the State Supreme Court in 2004. She was designated to the Appellate Division in December 2006. Balkin served as a judge of the Nassau County Family Court from January 1995 to May 2004 when she began an interim appointment to the Nassau County Supreme Court until the end of 2004. From 2002 to 2004, she was the presiding judge of the Nassau County Family Treatment Court and from January 2003 to September 2004, she was also the supervising judge of the Nassau County Family Court. From 1987 to 1994, she worked as Counsel to the Presiding Supervisor and Town Board of the Town of Hempstead  Balkin began her legal career in 1977 as a principal appellate counsel of the law firm Sutter, Moffatt, Yannelli & Zevin in Mineola, and became a partner in the firm Sutter, Balkin, Marten & Regan in 1984. Two years later, she became an associate civil litigator for the firm Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein. She earned her law degree from St. John's University School of Law in 1976. Balkin received an honorary doctor of laws degree from her alma mater Adelphi University in 2011. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1977. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Nassau County Bar Association, the Nassau County Women's Bar Association, and the Association of Justices to the Supreme Court. 

Daniel T. Driscoll
Republican

Background: Driscoll, 53, of Smithtown is running on the Republican party line in the general election. He has been an attorney with Siben & Siben in Bay Shore specializing in the areas of criminal law, family law, and plaintiffs’ negligence cases since 1998. Previously, he was an Assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County from 1992 to 1998 serving in the Major Crime Bureau from 1996 to 1998. He was a legal assistant at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in the Appeals Division from 1990 to 1992 while earning his law degree. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1988 and earned his law degree in 1992 from St. John’s University. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1993 as well as the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. He is on the executive committee of the Suffolk County Criminal Bar Association, a member of the Suffolk County Bar Association, and past president of the Brehon Law Society of Suffolk County.

Michael A. Gajdos Jr.
Conservative

Background: Gajdos, 45, of Ronkonkoma is running on the Democratic, Conservative and Independence party lines in the general election. Gajdos has a general practice of law, The Law Offices of Michael A. Gajdos, PC in Central Islip, which focuses on the areas of criminal defense, civil litigation, and appellate practice and real estate. Gajdos served as the Town of Islip Conservative vice chairman from 2009 until stepping down recently when he was nominated as a candidate for the state Supreme Court. Gajdos is also serving as the assistant village prosecutor for the Village of Patchogue, a position he has held since 2011, and is the vice-chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals for Islip Town, having been appointed in 2009 and re-appointed in 2015. In 1997, Gajdos started his legal career as a Suffolk assistant district attorney, working in the narcotics bureau, appeals bureau and economic crime bureau, investigating and prosecuting white-collar criminal cases. He also was a courtroom supervisor assigned to the District Court Bureau. He left in 2003 to be a partner of Russo & Gajdos, LLP. In 1994, he received his bachelor of science degree in accounting from St. Joseph's College in Patchogue. Gajdos earned a law degree from Touro Law College in 1997. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1998. Gajdos is a member of the Suffolk County Bar Association and the Suffolk County Criminal Bar Association, and is past president of the Suffolk County Columbian Lawyers' Association.

Christopher L. Grayson
Conservative

Background: Grayson, 47, of Westbury, is running on the Conservative Party line in the general election. He is currently in private practice of law in Garden City since 2005. Grayson was previously a senior trial attorney with Allstate Insurance Co. from 2000 to 2004 and deputy county attorney in the Nassau County Attorney's Office, from 1997 to 2000. Grayson received his bachelor's degree in 1993 from St. John's University and his juris doctorate in 1996 from St. John's University Law School. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1997, the Federal Bar, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York in 2000 and Southern District of New York in 2010.

Larry Kelly
Republican

Background: Kelly, 62, of Bayport is running on the Republican party line in the general election. Kelly has been in private practice in Bayport since 2009. Previously, he was senior rule of law adviser for the U.S. Department of State with a Provincial Reconstruction Team in southern Iraq in 2009. He was an attorney with Glynn, Mercep and Purcell from 2000 to 2009 and in private practice in Sayville from 1989 to 2000. He was a senior assistant county attorney in Suffolk County, performing federal trial litigation from 1984 to 1988, and assistant district attorney in Suffolk County from 1982 to 1984. He was a special investigator in the Civil Rights Unit of the New York Department of State under Mario Cuomo from 1978 to 1979. He received a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in 1977 and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1982. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1983 as well as the 2nd, 4th and 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He was a lead attorney with Trial Lawyers Care, an organization that offered pro bono legal advice to the families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He led the creation of Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI), a lump sum traumatic injury benefit program for seriously wounded American service members.

Stephen F. Kiely
Republican

Background: Kiely, 43, of Mattituck is running on the Republican party line in the general election. He has been in private practice for the past two years. Since June 2016 he has been a weekend and holiday defense attorney in Suffolk County. He has been a Village of Greenport prosecutor since January 2018 and a special prosecutor for the Village of Westhampton Dunes since 2015. Previously, he was assistant town attorney for the Town of Southold from May 2014 to August 2016. From November 2010 to May 2014, he was senior deputy Suffolk County clerk. He was special counsel to the Village of Greenport Attorney's Office from August 2012 to September 2013. He was an associate at Edward Burke Jr. & Associates LLC from February 2008 to November 2010 and at Rapport, Meyers, Whitbeck, Shaw & Rodenhausen LLP from September 2007 to February 2008. He was assistant district attorney in Columbia County District Attorney's Office from September 2007 to February 2008. He was assistant town attorney for the Town of Southampton from January 2006 to September 2007 and for the Town of Brookhaven from September 2004 to January 2006, and from March 2008 to July 2008. Kiely received a bachelor's degree from Guilford College in 1998 and a law degree from Hofstra University graduating magna cum laude in 2004. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2005.

Stephen J. Lynch
Independent

Background: Lynch, 67, of Speonk, is running on the Independence Party line in the general election. He is currently serving as a New York Court of Claims judge in Hauppauge, having been appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in 2012. Lynch was principal law clerk to State  Supreme Court Justice William B. Rebolini from 2008 to 2012. Before that he was principal law clerk to Justice Robert A. Lifson from 1995 to 2007. Lynch practiced with  the law firms of Colleran, O'Hara, Kennedy, Lilly & Dunne from 1978 to 1981; Robinson & Lynch, as a partner, from 1981 to 1991, and Marino Bernstein & LaMarca  from 1991 to 1995.  He earned a bachelor's degree from Fordham University in 1973 and a law degree from St. John's University School of Law in 1978. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1979, the Federal Bar, Eastern District and Southern District of New York in 1980 and the Florida Bar in 1990. He is a member of the Suffolk County Bar Association and the Suffolk County Women's Bar Association where he serves as a director. Lynch is a former member of the Nassau Bar Association and former member and director of the New York State Association of School Attorneys.

Vincent J. Messina Jr.
Republican

Background: Messina, 56, of Holbrook is the nominee of the state Independence Party. The enrolled Republican spent 13 years as the Islip Town attorney and is a partner with the law firm Sinnreich Kosakoff & Messina in Central Islip. He is also an outside attorney for Oyster Bay Town. 

Issues: He hasn't actively campaigned and, under state law, could be bumped from the Independence Party ticket for a candidate nominated by a major party. Messina is a Hofstra University Law School graduate.

David A. Morris
Independent 

Background: Morris, 56, of Sayville is running on the Independence party line in the general election. He is a Suffolk County Family Court Judge (2018). He was a Suffolk County District Court Judge from 2012-2017. Morris was a private practice attorney in Sayville from 2003 to 2011. He was a special counsel to Westhampton Dunes from 2009 to 2011. Morris was an acting village justice of the village court of Patchogue from 2009 to 2011. He began his legal career as a Suffolk County assistant attorney representing single parents in collecting child support and representing Suffolk County agencies and employees in state and federal courts from 1998 to 2003. Morris received his law degree in 1998 from CUNY School of Law and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1998. He is a member of the Suffolk County Bar Association.

Robert M. Nigro
Conservative

Background: Nigro, 69, of Bayville, is running on the Conservative Party line in the general election. Since January 2011, he has worked as administrator of the Nassau County Bar Association Assigned Counsel Defender Plan, a nonprofit corporation that provides panels of attorneys and experts for assignment by courts to litigants who are unable to afford legal representation. Before that, he was civil forfeiture bureau chief in the Nassau County district attorney's office from 1989 to 2010. He was in private practice at the law firm of Capetola & Dodatto in Williston Park from January 1989 to June 1989; and from 1987 to 1988 at the law firm of Munley Meade Nielsen & Re in Great Neck. From 1982 to 1987, he was principal law clerk to Nassau County Court Judge Abbey L. Boklan. He began his legal career in 1976 in the Nassau County district attorney's office, working in the rackets bureau, the district court trial bureau and the appeals bureau. He earned an undergraduate degree in political science from Fordham College and his law degree from Fordham University School of Law. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1977 as well as the Eastern District Court and Southern District Court. He was admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States in 2012. He is a member of the board of directors at the Columbian Lawyers Association of Nassau County, Nassau Lawyers Association, the Catholic Lawyers Guild, the Fordham College Alumni Association, and the Kiwanis Club of the Nassau County Courthouses. He was elected trustee for the Village of Bayville in June 2016 for a four-year term.

George Nolan
Democratic

Background: Nolan, 60, of Bayport, is running on the Democratic, Conservative and Independence party lines in the general election. He has been counsel to the Suffolk County Legislature since 2006. He was Chief of the Municipal Law Bureau in the Suffolk County Department of Law from 2004 to 2005. He worked in defense litigation for several insurance companies from 1992-2005. He was assistant Suffolk County Attorney from 1990 to 1992. He was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature in 1987 and served through 1989 and was an aide in the Suffolk County legislature from 1982 to 1987. He received a bachelor's degree from SUNY Oneonta in 1980 and a law degree from St. John's University in 1986. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1987.

Deborah Poulos
Conservative

Background: Poulos, 64, of Dix Hills, is running on the Democratic, Conservative and Independence party lines in the general election. She has been acting judge in the Matrimonial Part of the Suffolk County Supreme Court since 2017. From 2014 to 2016, she was a Suffolk County Family Court judge, where she handled numerous custody and neglect matters. From 1990 to 2013, Poulos was a family and matrimonial law trial attorney in private practice at Lefkowitz & Poulos in Hauppauge. Poulos graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from Adelphi University in 1981. She received a law degree from Touro College's Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in 1988. Poulos was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1989 and to the U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. District Court, Eastern District; and the U.S. Court of Military Appeals in 1993. Poulos is a member of the New York State Bar Association (Family and Matrimonial Law section), Suffolk County Bar Association and the Suffolk County Women's Bar Association. Poulos is on the board of directors of the Suffolk Academy of Law. She previously was on the board of the New York State Family Court Judges Association.

Thomas Rademaker
Conservative

Background: Rademaker, 47, of Sea Cliff, is running in the Conservative party line in the general election. He is an acting State Supreme Court Justice in Nassau County, sitting in the matrimonial center. He was a Nassau County Family Court judge from 2015 to 2017. He was principal law clerk to New York State Court of Claims Judge Philip Grella from 2003 to 2014. Before that, Rademaker was in private legal practice from 1997 to 2003. He received his bachelor's degree from SUNY Oneonta in 1993 and earned his law degree from Touro Law School in 1996. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1997. Rademaker is a member of the Nassau County Bar Association and the Nassau County Criminal Courts Bar Association.

Norman St. George
Democratic

Background: St. George, 54, of Freeport is running on the Democratic and Republican party lines in the general election. He has been the supervising judge of the Nassau County District Court, responsible for the operation of the county civil and criminal courts since February 2013. Before that he was the acting supreme court justice-county court judge from 2008 to 2013. St. George was a district court judge from 2004 to 2008. He has also held various positions in private practices, and also worked four years as an assistant district attorney from 1991 to 1995. St. George earned his undergraduate degree at Adelphi University in 1985 and his law degree from Hofstra University School of Law in 1988. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1989 and the Southern and Eastern District Courts of New York in 1989.

Marian R. Tinari
Conservative

Marian R. Tinari

Background: Tinari, 64, of Huntington, is running on the Democratic, Conservative and Independence party lines in the general election. She was appointed as a Suffolk County District Court judge in March 2015, and in 2016 elected to that position for a six-year term. From 2011 to 2015, Tinari was an attorney with the Suffolk County District Administrative Judge’s Office and from 2010 to 2011, an attorney with the Suffolk County Supreme Court Law Department. From 2002 to 2009, she was a principal law clerk to the Suffolk County Surrogate and from 1987 to 2002, she was law clerk to Judge Michael F. Mullen. She was an assistant district attorney in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office from 1984 to 1987, and from 1981 to 1984, she was an investment banker at Chase Manhattan Bank in Manhattan. She received her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary in 1976 and her law degree from Capital University in 1981, where she was senior notes editor of the Law Review. She received a certificate from the American Bankers Association’s National Trust School at Northwestern University in 1982. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1982. Tinari is co-chair of the Suffolk County Court’s Children’s Center advisory board, co-chair of the Suffolk County Women in the Courts Mental Health subcommittee, and a member of the Suffolk County Bar Association’s Bench Bar committee. She is past president of the Suffolk County Brehon Law Society and past co-chair of the Suffolk County Bar Association’s Surrogate Court Committee. She served as chair of the Suffolk County District Administrative Judge’s task force on the Supreme Court. Tinari also served on the New York State Court System’s Foreclosure Program and on the Board of Managers of the Suffolk County Bar Association Pro Bono Foundation. She is a member of the Suffolk County Bar Association’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, and the Suffolk County Criminal Bar. Tinari is the 2014 recipient of the Rosemary Nelson award from the Suffolk County Brehon Law Society.

Helen Voutsinas
Democratic

Background: Voutsinas, 42, of Freeport, is running on the Democratic and Republican party lines in the general election. She has been a judge in the Nassau County Court, Second District since 2011. At the district court, Voutsinas was a misdemeanor, aggravated DWI judge in Nassau County from 2015-2017 and was a domestic violence judge for Nassau County since 2013-2015. Before that, she was a principal law clerk to Nassau County Court Judge Steven Jaeger from 2005 to 2010. She was an assistant town attorney for the Town of North Hempstead from 2002 to 2003. She was the Deputy Majority Counsel for the Nassau County Legislature in 2004. Voutsinas was in private practice from 1999 to 2001. She received her bachelor's degree from St. John's University in 1996 and her law degree from St John's University School of Law in 1999. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000. Voutsinas is a member of the Nassau Bar Association, Nassau County Women's Bar Association and the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association. Voutsinas is a board member of the Theodore Roosevelt American Inns of Court. She was been the vice president of the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association from 2015 to 2017 and currently is the president since Sept. 2015. Voutsinas is the president of the Nassau County District Court Judges Association from 2014 to 2015. She was the president of the Nassau County Women's Bar Association from 2006-2007.

John B. Zollo
Republican

Background: Zollo, 59, of Smithtown is running on the Republican Party line in the general election. He has been practicing law at his own firm in Nesconset since 2009. Previously, he was an attorney with the firm of Vincent J. Trimarco Sr. from 2005 to 2008 and of counsel to Meyer, Suozzi, English and Klein from 2002 to 2005. He was Smithtown Town Attorney from 1992 to 2002 and from 2012 to 2013. From 1987 to 1992, he was an insurance defense attorney and from 1984 to 1987 he was an assistant county attorney in Suffolk. Zollo received a bachelor's degree from Fordham University in 1981 and a law degree from New York Law School in 1984. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1985 as well as the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. He is a member and past director of the Suffolk County Bar Association. Previously, he was a trustee of the Suffolk Academy of Law, president of the Suffolk County Columbian Lawyers Association, chair and co-chair of the Suffolk County Municipal Law Committee, and a member of the 10th Judicial District Grievance Committee for eight years.

Back to Voters Guide

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."