Andrea Schiavoni, candidate for Southampton Town justice, boasts endorsements from four political parties in her race against sitting judge Thomas DeMayo. Among the parties, she told the members of the Noyac Citizens Advisory Committee on Tuesday evening, are the Democratic, Conservative, Independence and Working Family, the combination of which makes her an attractive candidate.
Schiavoni, who was the featured guest speaker at the CAC’s meeting, said there were three reasons she believes she received the endorsement from so many parties. In particular she has heard that party members were impressed with her experience in both juvenile law and narcotics, two aspects of the law that were getting increased attention in the town.
“Unfortunately, Southampton is changing,” she observed. “Even Judge DeMayo, who spoke here last month, is saying there is an increase in drug-related crime.”
Schiavoni also said her being endorsed by such a broad range of constituencies means she has no one particular allegiance.
“I answer to no one but God and the law,” she said.
Schiavoni was asked what the courts could do to control the rise of illegal immigrants.
“This is more of a federal issue, and not a local police issue,” she said. She emphasized that justices are supposed to be non-political, and needed to judge any case on the facts.
“If someone knows someone is illegal, do they take them to court,” she was asked.
Schiavoni said residents should notify the particular enforcement group responsible for any violation, village police, for example or federal agents. They should not go to a judge.
When asked what the courts can do to mitigate the growing drug problem, she said, “There is a span of sentences, handed down by legislature. You can’t do much, but fairly rule and set good precedent.”
Schiavoni was asked, if all judges are expected to be equally impartial, what would separate one candidate from another.
“It might be a degree of intellect, or work ethic, or initiative,” she said. “Judge Kooperstein, for example, started a drug court. It’s how you extend yourself into the community.”
She added that she also agrees with the chief justice of New York, who has called for an action plan “to make sure we are spending funds wisely.”
Â “Would you be a hanging judge,” asked Ralph DeSpigna.
“To say I’m a hanging judge or liberal judge would imply a bias,” Schiavoni responded. “I’m a fair judge.”