Author Archive

Bedford Town Justice Court, Explained

October 18, 2021

The Record-Review

By Clark Petschek

As a candidate for Bedford Town Justice, I am often asked to explain the role and responsibilities of our town court.

Bedford’s Court is one of almost 1,300 Justice Courts in New York which are part of the Unified Court System, the state’s judicial branch of government. Justice Courts play a vital role in the adjudication of civil and criminal matters, and collectively they handle almost 2 million cases each year.

The Justice Court in Bedford is presided over by two part-time, elected judges. Interestingly, judges in the Justice Courts – who are referred to as justices – are not required to be lawyers. New York’s practice of permitting non-attorneys to serve as justices is a vestige of an earlier era when lawyers and law schools were scarce. In fact, seven other states also allow non-attorney judges to preside over certain lower courts.

Justice Courts exercise limited jurisdiction over criminal and civil matters. On the civil side, they adjudicate actions and small claims that seek monetary awards of no more than $3,000. Notably, small claims proceedings are intended to provide a low-cost and informal forum to resolve civil disputes. Small claims litigants are not required to be represented by legal counsel and often choose not to be. On the criminal side, Justice Courts handle cases involving the prosecution of misdemeanors, violations, and traffic infractions committed within the geographic boundaries of the town. On felony matters, justices conduct arraignments and preliminary hearings before transferring those cases to a superior court (usually the County Court). Justices are also empowered to issue orders of protection and certain emergency orders when other courts are not in session. Finally, Justice Courts hold jurisdiction over landlord-tenant disputes as well as violations of town ordinances that are subject to civil penalties.

Bedford’s Justice Court is an integral part of New York’s judicial system and an essential venue at the town level for the resolution of legal disputes and the administration of justice in accordance with the law.

Clark Petschek, who is running for Bedford Town Justice on the Republican and Bedford United party lines, is a longtime Bedford resident who has practiced law for 20 years as a trial attorney, transactional lawyer and hearing officer for New York State.

Candidate Profile: Clark Petschek For Bedford Town Justice

October 15, 2021

Patch

By Jeff Edwards

The Bedford resident shares why he should be elected in November. Check out the full Q&A with Patch.

BEDFORD, NY — In 2021’s general election, residents of the Hudson Valley will be voting for local officials. In anticipation, Patch asked candidates in the contested races to answer questions about their campaigns and will be publishing candidate profiles as Election Day draws near.

Clark Petschek is seeking election as Bedford Town Justice in November. The 51-year-old is running on the Bedford United ticket and as a Republican candidate.

Learn more about Clark on clark4bedford.com.

Check out Patch’s full Q&A with Petschek:

Family

Spouse: Michelle; 3 children

Education

Harvard University (BA in Economics); Northeastern University School of Law (JD)

Occupation

Attorney (20 years); Hearing Officer (3 years)

Why are you seeking elective office?

I am running for Town Justice because of my deep commitment to Bedford, public service, and the law.

I have been a Bedford resident for over 40 years. I grew up in Katonah, and my wife Michelle and I raised our three children here (all of them attended the Katonah-Lewisboro schools).

Throughout my life, I have always pursued opportunities to serve the public. Here in Bedford, I have been a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals since 2012, and I was a founding member of the Veterans Advisory Committee. Previously, after graduating from Harvard University, I served our country for eight years as an officer in the Army Special Forces (Green Berets) and Infantry.

Following my military service, I earned a law degree from Northeastern University and began a diverse, 20-year legal career. For more than a decade, I practiced civil and criminal litigation at WilmerHale, a leading international law firm. While at WilmerHale, I also volunteered at the Public Defender’s Office where I represented indigent clients on a pro bono basis. Subsequently, I served as senior in-house counsel at an investment bank and then general counsel at a risk management firm. More recently, for the past last three years, I have served as a hearing officer for the New York State Gaming Commission and the New York State Retirement System. As a hearing officer, I preside over administrative cases and adjudicate claims and appeals on behalf of those state agencies.

My extensive experience as a trial attorney, transactional lawyer, and hearing officer have prepared me to handle the wide array of cases that come before the Bedford Court. I am ready to serve on day one.

I am honored by the public recommendations many of my professional colleagues have offered during this campaign. Moreover, I am humbled by the endorsements I have received from numerous law enforcement organizations, including the New York State Troopers PBA, the Westchester County Police PBA, and the Westchester County Correction Officers PBA.

I am eager to continue my service to Bedford as Town Justice, and I ask for your vote in this election.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

My extensive experience as a trial attorney, transactional lawyer, and hearing officer have prepared me to handle the wide array of cases that come before the Bedford Court. I am ready to serve on day one.

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?

Every individual appearing before Bedford’s Court deserves to have their case adjudicated fairly and impartially by a judge with experience, intellect, sound judgment, and compassion. I have those qualifications, and I believe that my extensive experience as a litigator and hearing officer, coupled with my community involvement, has prepared me for the Town Justice position. I am committed to serving Bedford with integrity and humility. If elected, I will decide cases justly and without prejudice or passion.

Letter to the Editor: “Volunteer work showed a great communicator and superb role model”

October 11, 2021

The Record-Review

To the Editor:

We are writing in strong support of Clark Petschek for Bedford Town Justice. Notably, we wish to provide some perspective on Clark’s commitment and demeanor outside of his legal career and longstanding service to Bedford. 

We have had the pleasure of getting to know Clark through his involvement with the booster organization that supports the John Jay varsity hockey team. All three of Clark’s sons played on that team, and our daughter served as its manager for four seasons. Clark has volunteered countless hours over the years to coordinate many facets of that top-ranked program which fall outside of the school district’s scope. In addition to his outstanding management skills, we have come to know Clark as a great communicator and a superb role model. He is thoughtful, kind, and friendly. He engages and collaborates wonderfully with students, coaches, and parents, and he is absolutely dedicated to ensuring our children enjoy the best possible school experience.

Clark’s kind demeanor and generosity of spirit – coupled with his many years as a trial attorney which others have described in this paper – will make Clark a superb judge. We ask you to join us in voting for Clark Petschek for Town Justice.

Lilly and Jeff Innocenti

Bedford Hills

Letter to the Editor: “Brings depth and experience needed for fairness in town court”

October 11, 2021

The Record-Review

To the Editor:

We are writing to express our unequivocal support for Clark Petschek for Bedford Town Justice. He is superbly qualified, and his broad legal experience is precisely what Bedford needs from its next judge. We hope you will join us in voting to elect Clark.

The Town Court is charged with handling a wide array of criminal and civil matters. To be able to adjudicate those cases fairly, impartially, and efficiently, we need a judge with depth and breadth of experience. Clark has both. His diverse 20-year legal career – as a trial attorney and a transactional lawyer – has provided him the skills to serve Bedford effectively on day one. Moreover, for the past three years, Clark has served as a hearing officer for the New York State Gaming Commission and the New York State Retirement System, and he presides over administrative cases on behalf of those agencies. Clark’s extensive and relevant legal experience make him ideally qualified to serve as a judge.

Let’s elect Clark Petschek as Bedford’s next Town Justice.

Jennifer and Larry Cucolo

Katonah

Letter to the Editor: “Has the experience, intellect and compassion to handle town court cases”

October 11, 2021

The Record-Review

To the Editor:

Please join me in voting to elect Clark Petschek as Bedford’s next Town Justice. I have known Clark for almost a decade. He is exceptionally well qualified, committed to this community, and the right person to serve as judge.

Clark has had a distinguished and diverse legal career. For 11 years, he practiced law at WilmerHale, a leading international law firm. He subsequently served as in-house counsel at an investment bank and then general counsel of a risk management company. More recently, he has served as a hearing officer for two New York State agencies.

Notably, Clark has shown a continued commitment to public service. Following his graduation from Harvard, he served our country for eight years as an officer in the US Army. After leaving the military, Clark continued to serve his community. He has been a member of Bedford’s Zoning Board of Appeals for nine years and was a founding member of Bedford’s Veterans Committee.

Like many Bedford residents, I have not been before the Town Court. However, I recognize the significant impact judges have on the lives of the people appearing before them. Bedford needs a fair and impartial judge who has the experience, intellect, and compassion to handle the wide range of cases that come to the Court. Clark Petschek is that person and we should elect him as our next Town Justice.

Michael Bocklet

Katonah

Letter to the Editor: “Holds the hallmarks of judicial office including impartiality and hard work”

October 11, 2021

The Record-Review

To the Editor:

I have known Clark Petschek for well over forty years as a neighbor and a friend.  I have seen him grow from a young man playing softball on my front lawn with my daughters to a distinguished lawyer willing to give back to the community.  Returning to Katonah after eight years in the Army and his preliminary legal career, Clark built a home and commenced serving his community.  While a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and a founder of the Bedford Veterans Committee, Clark developed a reputation for fairness and integrity.

Impartiality, sensitivity, intelligence, hard work and being a good listener are the hallmarks of judicial office.  Clark fulfills all of these attributes and based on over fifty years as a practicing attorney, I believe Clark would make an excellent judge.  I urge your vote for him on November 2nd. 

Gordon Aydelott 

Waccabuc

Letter to the Editor: “Community leader ideally suited to serve as judge”

October 11, 2021

The Record-Review

Clark Petschek is the perfect choice to serve as Bedford’s next judge, and I ask you to join me in voting to elect him as Town Justice. Clark has been a Bedford resident for over 40 years, and his dedication to this town is unwavering. Moreover, he has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to public service. After graduating from Harvard University, he served our nation for eight years as an officer in the US Army. He has also served on Bedford’s Zoning Board of Appeals since 2012 and has been an active volunteer at the John Jay middle and high schools, which all three of his children attended.

I had the pleasure of working closely with Clark on the Town’s efforts to design and build a new veterans memorial in Katonah. It was an idea that had been floating around for almost a decade before Clark brought it to fruition. Navigating the memorial project through the Town’s bureaucracy and the divergent views of the public was no easy feat. But Clark is a superb communicator and leader. As a seasoned attorney, he can quickly distill complex issues and identify pragmatic solutions. Additionally, his calm and inclusive approach ensures all views are heard and considered.  

Clark’s commitment to this community, public service, and the law make him ideally suited to serve as Bedford’s Town Justice. Let’s elect Clark Petschek!

Bill Cryan

Katonah

Letter to the Editor: “Experienced Litigator Who is Ready to Serve as Town Justice”

October 2, 2021

The Record-Review

To the Editor:

Please join me in voting to elect Clark Petschek as Bedford Town Justice. Clark’s extensive legal experience, intellect, and demeanor make him the ideal choice for judge. He is ready to serve on the bench now, and he is exactly who Bedford needs on its Court.  

The depth and breadth of Clark’s legal experience is outstanding. He practiced civil and criminal litigation for over a decade at WilmerHale, a leading international law firm. He then served as in-house counsel for an investment bank and subsequently became the general counsel of a risk management company. Notably, for the last three years, Clark has served as a Hearing Officer for the New York State Gaming Commission and the New York State Retirement System. As a Hearing Officer, Clark presides over administrative cases, weighs evidence, and renders written decisions.

Experience matters. Judges in our Town Court must be capable of adjudicating a wide array of criminal and civil matters. Clark’s broad legal experience (and especially his litigation expertise) make him perfectly suited to serve as our Town’s next judge. Clark Petschek is the right choice for Bedford.

Marlo Brevetti

Katonah

Letter to the Editor: “Candidate’s Attributes as Superb Army Officer Will Carry Over to the Bench”

September 26, 2021

The Record-Review

I am writing to share my support and enthusiasm for Clark Petschek’s candidacy for Bedford town justice. I have had the privilege of knowing Clark for well over 20 years, first serving with him in the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) and remaining friends since then.

Clark Petschek is one of the finest officers I served with during my 35-year Army career. He is a leader with exceptional integrity and honor. I served with Clark in the most austere environments and under the most challenging situations across the African continent and during the Bosnian conflict as we advanced our nation’s quest for justice against war criminals. His ability to lead diverse, multi-national teams in high stress environments is nothing short of amazing. Clark is decisive, unflappable, thoughtful and judicious. His integrity and professionalism are unparalleled.

As a graduate of Harvard University, Clark had the intellect and drive to succeed in any career. Every door was open to him after college, yet he chose to serve our country. After leaving the military, Clark again had many options, but he chose to earn a law degree and embark on a diverse 20-year legal career marked by service to his community. He and his delightful wife have raised an extraordinary family and continue to serve their community while instilling the same values in their children.

The attributes that made Clark a superb Army officer and successful attorney will carry over to the bench. His intellect, experience, compassion and commitment to public service will make him an outstanding judge. I encourage you to vote for Clark Petschek for Bedford town justice.

Robert Hart

CW5, U.S. Army Special Forces (Retired)

Adams, TN

Letter to the Editor: “Longstanding Community Leader Ready to Serve as Judge”

September 26, 2021

The Record-Review

I am delighted that Clark Petschek is running for Bedford Town Justice. I have had the pleasure of serving with Clark on Bedford’s Zoning Board of Appeals since 2012, and I know him to be extraordinarily well qualified and perfectly suited to serve as a judge. The residents of Bedford have benefitted tremendously from his acumen, insights and contributions to the zoning board, and I know they would benefit even more by electing him town justice.

As I have seen firsthand over the past nine years, Clark approaches each case with rigor and professionalism. He is expertly versed in the relevant law and regulations, and he knows how to apply them thoughtfully, fairly and compassionately to each set of circumstances. For local permitting boards, reaching the “right” outcome is not the only consideration. It is also essential to provide a transparent and impartial forum in which the public can voice their opinions. Clark is a superb communicator, and he ensures that all participants in the zoning board’s meetings are heard and their concerns are addressed respectfully and with candor.

Clark’s calm demeanor, sound judgment and collegial personality have made him an invaluable part of Bedford’s Zoning Board of Appeals for almost a decade. Those traits, along with his extensive experience as a criminal and civil litigation attorney will make him an outstanding judge. Please join me in voting for Clark Petschek for Bedford town justice.

Lisa Spano

Bedford Hills