When Jim Walsh was elected to the Family Court bench in 2014, I was incredibly pleased for the Monroe County community. I knew they were acquiring a fantastic judge, someone with extensive knowledge of our judicial system and a person who would take on the job with tenacity and open-mindedness. Perhaps more significantly, Family Court was getting a special human being, someone who has consistently demonstrated his care and compassion for all people. Throughout the past seven years, I have had numerous cases before Judge Walsh, most principally matters that concern the best interests, the physical and mental health of elderly citizens. I am consistently impressed with his patience, his unique ability to put people at ease, especially those whom have never appeared in court previously. I have known Judge Walsh since he was a prosecutor for the Monroe County District Attorney’s office in 1998. Those same qualities of fairness and sincerity have always been his mantra. I am an attorney who practices extensively in Supreme Court, conducted hundreds of trials, hearings and conferences on behalf of clients throughout the State of New York. Frankly, there is no more qualified, dedicated and capable candidate for Monroe County Supreme Court than the Hon. James Walsh.
—Attorney, Angelo Rose
The Bar and Bench would be well served if Jim Walsh was to become a Supreme Court Justice in the Seventh Judicial District. I have practiced before him representing private litigants and also as an AFC. In my experience he is respectful and polite to all parties and counsel. He displays appropriate judicial temperament and does not demean or disrespect anyone. His dialogue is clear and makes it obvious that he has immersed himself in the merits of a case. Any ruling by him is followed up with extensive explanation in terms that can be understood by all. It is a pleasure to appear in his Court.
—Attorney, James Bell
I’ve known and appeared before Judge James Walsh numerous times over the past seven years. I have seen his compassion, knowledge, and integrity firsthand. He brings these essential qualities to the bench. I know Judge Walsh to be an honest, straightforward, and fair judge who cares deeply for the children and families of our community. He is prompt, prepared and dedicated to helping families resolve their cases without delay. It is my pleasure to lend my support to Judge Walsh.
—Attorney, Eric Handelman
I have had the pleasure of appearing in front of Judge Walsh on many occasions which have included a variety of complex situations. In my experience, Judge Walsh has handled all matters with a high degree of competence. Many of the matters before him have involved complicated legal issues that require a high degree of knowledge and experience to untangle. He is prepared and well acquainted with the facts surrounding the cases in which I have been involved and has always treated the attorney’s and litigants with the utmost of respect. Judge Walsh can be firm when necessary, however also has the innate ability to understand what is necessary to navigate the various emotions of all the litigants and attorneys in his Courtroom. Being a Supreme Court Justice is a very difficult job and requires an individual to be knowledgeable in a variety of areas of the law, have a strong work ethic, and be able to make difficult decisions while weighing all the competing interests involved. It is my sincere belief, that Judge Walsh possesses all these attributes, has a moral fiber beyond reproach, and would be an asset to the bench.
—Attorney, Matthew Fero
I did not know Judge James Walsh well before he took the bench in Monroe County Family Court. Since taking the bench, I have appeared before him many times and I truly been impressed with his judicial ability, his integrity and his demeanor. As a practicing family court attorney for over 40 years, I can say without hesitation that I am always pleased to have a case assigned to his bench and to appear before him. When my clients ask, as they do, if we have a “good” judge – I say “Yes, I am happy that we have been assigned to Judge Walsh’s court. That means we will have an impartial Judge who knows the law, who will listen to our position and be fair in his decisions.”
Family Court is a tough place to be for a litigant – sometimes people are unrepresented, emotions run high, a person’s family life is literally on the line. The level of trauma for litigants in this court undeniable – both in what is happening to them in their lives and the experience of having their private life play out in a busy courtroom. Judge Walsh is always calm, clear and extremely patient with all people. I have never seen him lose his temper nor choose words that might exacerbate a painful situation for the clients. His judicial demeanor and integrity both in dealing with attorneys and with litigations shows true understanding what it takes to make fair judgments in a difficult court. I recall a case in particular where another Judge may have lost their temper with a client who had handled the pending case situation very poorly. Judge Walsh did what needed to be done with the case but was extremely patient and clearly explained his reasons for his actions directly to the client and added sincere words about hoping that life improved for the client.
The court docket is huge in Family Court and things can seem so rushed and litigants and even lawyers can be left wondering if the Judge is “hearing” them. Judge Walsh moves the cases along without it feeling like is just another case or like an assembly line to either the attorneys or the litigants. People feel “heard” with Judge Walsh. He is an “attorney’s Judge” because he knows this area of law and listens to legal arguments and is very respectful to all counsel who appear before him but he also a Judge who understands the true pain that many litigants are in and is compassionate and human with them as well.
Much of my current practice now consists of adoption work. Judge Walsh makes my law practice smooth as he sets clear and consistent expectations for the legal process and most importantly he makes the adoption itself a wonderful experience for the adoptive family. He reads the social work reports carefully and specifically comments to the family and the child about their interests and experiences. Every adoption client I have comments to me about how genuine and positive he is with them and how he makes the adoption proceeding – a kind of perfunctory legal signing of papers in our busy family court – be a happy memory for them. He has particularly gone out of his way to help us continue to do adoptions during the current pandemic – including handling them out of the court house if that worked better for the family. These actions are above and beyond and are what makes me support him for the bench with no hesitation.
My only regret is that we would lose Judge Walsh in Family Court and that I would likely not appear in front of him in the future! Judge Walsh’s legal knowledge and ability, his integrity and fairness, his demeanor and his outstanding human, compassionate and sincere interaction with the bar and the litigants make me recommend him with no hesitation.
—Attorney, Margaret Burt
I have had the opportunity to appear in front of Judge Walsh on a number of occasions. Whether ruling for or against my client, he has consistently impressed me with his preparation, knowledge of the law, and his ability to make well informed and prompt decisions. He listens carefully, attentively, and courteously to the arguments of counsel and maintains control of his courtroom. Above all, his commitment, as a family court judge, to the welfare and protection of children is obvious and unswerving.
—Attorney, Lisa Siragusa
I listened to James Walsh give an Attorney for the Child report, prior to becoming Family Court Judge James Walsh, and I was struck by his understanding of the children's needs and the thoroughness of the report. As a Family Court Judge, Judge Walsh brings that same empathy and comprehensive knowledge to the bench. Judge Walsh works to reunite families while putting the protection of the children at the forefront of every case. I believe Judge Walsh's knowledge and experience, as a private attorney and a Family Court Judge, will enhance our Supreme Court judiciary.
—Attorney, Eftihia Bourtis
Many years ago, I was involved in a very violent marriage. In 2009, my then husband, in the presence of our 9-year-old son, threatened to kill me before proceeding to knock me unconscious. Thankfully, although incredibly traumatized and terrified, my son was able to get to a phone in the house and call 911. Domestic violence is an incredibly complicated issue. The real power that a perpetrator has over a victim, is fear that is at times debilitating. I, like most other victims, left my husband and then returned to the relationship several times. Following the 2009 incident, I filed for custody of my son as well as for a No Contact Order of Protection. My son was appointed a Law Guardian who, at that time, was Jim Walsh.
For the FIRST time in many years I felt that I had someone who understood what was happening to me. Mr. Walsh (now Judge Walsh), listened to me and really heard me. He never once made me feel like the situation was my fault, even when I blamed myself. He showed my empathy and respect. He made me feel valued and most importantly, he made me feel safe, and safety was not something I was familiar with. Judge Walsh helped me believe that I was strong enough to take care of myself and my son independently and encouraged me to access services that would support that independence and help me heal from years of physical and emotional abuse. But first and foremost, he listened to my child and made him feel as safe as he did me. This was a little boy who believed he was witnessing the murder of his mother. The ramifications for that were far reaching, but Judge Walsh spent the time with him that was needed in order for my son to trust him enough to tell the truth about his experiences. Judge Walsh’s priority was to keep my child safe and to empower me enough to believe I had the ability to maintain that safety.
Fast forward 12 years and not only did we survive, but we are thriving. My son just graduated from college and has secured a job in the financial sector. I am happily (and safely) remarried. I am a supervisor for Monroe County Child Protective Services, where I again have the privilege of working, although indirectly, with Judge Walsh. In this capacity I hear and see countless cases where Judge Walsh goes well above and beyond to ensure that all the children that come before him are safe, while being respectful to those, who for a variety of reasons, are not willing or able to keep them safe themselves. He is tough, but fair and clearly devoted to the wellbeing of the families in Monroe County. He is valued by Child Protective Services and widely respected by our staff.
Very few people have had such a profound impact on my life as Judge Walsh has had. I believe meeting him changed our life trajectory and almost surely kept me alive. And here’s the thing; he probably never even knew it because my story is likely the same as the 100’s of others he has worked with. He did not show us this compassion and kindness because of us, he showed it to us because that is who he is as a human.
I would like to take the opportunity to express my gratitude towards Judge Walsh. I credit him with saving my son’s life. My son is now a successful 21-year-old high school graduate, with a full time job, a car of his own, and healthy relationships and habits. There was a period of time when I worried if he would even graduate high-school. He was abusing substances, engaging in criminal activity, getting suspended from school, and connecting with unsavory peers. He ended up in the juvenile justice system as a result of his behavior. Honorable Walsh was the presiding judge over his case. He was tough, firm, and stuck to his word. Somehow I knew that Judge Walsh would do everything he could to turn my son’s life around. It was obvious. He cared. He was invested. He made difficult decisions in my son’s best interest. And it worked. Thank you Judge Walsh. I’ve been wanting to say this to you for years. My son is thriving and Judge Walsh played a role in that.