Commitment

- I will preside with fairness & integrity

- I will ensure all parties are given the opportunity to be heard

- I will treat all litigants with respect & dignity

Elect Melissa Stearns
Fair. Honest.

I am committed to maintaining impartiality, treating all litigants, attorneys, and participants in a fair and respectful manner, applying the laws of the State of New York to the facts presented to me, without respect for privilege, standing, popularity, or status.

"The mission of the New York State Unified Court System is to promote the rule of law and serve the public by achieving just and timely resolution of all matters before the courts."

Qualified. Experienced.
  • 2008-present - civil litigation in NYS Supreme Court​
  • researching, writing, drafting decisions and orders
  • extensive motion practice & legal analysis
  • 13 years trial experience as prosecutor in the DA's Office
  • felony prosecutions from arraignment through appeal
  • worked closely with law enforcement, victims' advocates, and other Madison County agencies  
Dedication to public service.

I have devoted my career to public service, first for 13 years in the Madison County District Attorney's Office as a prosecutor, and for the last 10 years in the NYS Supreme Court as a principal attorney for the Judge.  

As a prosecutor I had a reputation for being fair but firm, seeking justice not merely convictions.  I treated all with respect - whether witness, advocate, attorney, or judge.  I strongly believe that justice demands people be heard fully.

In my capacity as an attorney for NYS Supreme Court, I continue to seek justice by preparing balanced decisions and orders, providing impartial legal analysis, and composing thorough legal instructions for jury trials.  I am responsible for reviewing hundreds of matrimonial and foreclosure files, as well as default and summary judgment motions, for the Judge's signature, ensuring that all of the statutory and legal mandates have been met to safeguard the litigants from future controversy.   

The Position - NYS Supreme Court Justice

 

The NYS Supreme Court is a trial court which hears civil matters beyond the monetary limits of the lower courts’ (i.e. city/village/town courts) jurisdiction.  Examples include matters of divorce, separation and annulment proceedings; equity suits, such as mortgage foreclosures and injunctions; negligence and personal injury actions including malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, falls; commercial actions; breach of contract or fiduciary duties. 

I am seeking the position of Supreme Court Justice in the 6th Judicial District, which consists of 10 counties: Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga and Tompkins counties.

The Judiciary

         Our independent judiciary is dependent upon the trust of the people appearing therein.  Without the trust and respect of the people seeking our assistance, justice crumbles.  I am always mindful that those of us fortunate enough to work in the New York State court system are here to serve the people - with kindness, compassion, efficiency, fairness, and with great humility.      

 

       "Our judicial system belongs to the litigants who appear in our

         courts, to the defendants who stand accused of crimes, to victims

         who are called to testify and to every person who serves on a grand

         jury or as a trial juror. It belongs to every one of our partners in

        government who provide us with the support and resources we need

        to administer justice, and it belongs to every person...that relies on

        our courts to uphold the rule of law. Those of us who are privileged

        to serve as judges and non-judicial employees are but stewards of

        something that is far larger than any collection of individuals, and

        which ultimately belongs to all New Yorkers."

                                      -Lawrence K. Marks, Chief Administrative Judge

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