BY TONY FARINA
“The citizens of Niagara Falls would be hard-pressed to find a better candidate for a seat on the City Court bench than Alan Roscetti,” says longtime pharmacist Robert Kendzia when asked about the young man’s plans to run for an expected open seat next year on City Court.
We caught up with Kendzia and several other folks at the Bowl-O-Drome on Pine Ave. this week to ask them about Alan J. Roscetti, who is announcing his candidacy for City Court in 2017 to fill the seat of Robert Merino, who will reach the mandatory retirement age for judges.
“They don’t come much better [than Alan],” said Angelo Tecchio, a retired airline manager. “He’s a fine young man, hails from a terrific family, and would certainly be an asset to the citizens of Niagara Falls as a judge. I would support him wholeheartedly.”
Roscetti, 37, has worked in the Niagara County Public Defender’s Office for nearly 13 years where he has handled every type of case imaginable including murders, arsons, large-scale grand larceny, and fraud. When we interviewed him for this story on Wednesday, he had just won a jury trial for a defendant who he argued had been wrongly accused of menacing a police officer and criminal possession of a weapon as well as obstructing governmental administration. The jury agreed with Roscetti after only 10 minutes of deliberation and returned a not-guilty verdict on all counts.
“I believe in what I do, and as a public defender and an attorney in my family’s law firm, I am living my boyhood dream,” said Roscetti. He remembers when he was a fifth grader at Sacred Heart Villa in Lewiston and someone took a picture of him holding a law book. It was an early sign that this young man was headed for the legal career that now sees him setting his sights on a City Court judgeship.
“In many of the cases I handle as a public defender, there are mental health issues involved,” said Roscetti, “and in many cases the problems can be diagnosed and the issues resolved in a fair and just way. You have to be able to adjust to the situation and act accordingly. As a judge, it would require the same ability to handle each case firmly but fairly and apply the right legal standards for all involved. That’s what I would do.”
Roscetti says he feels he has the “right temperament, right experience, and right energy to serve the citizens of Niagara Falls” as a judge, and run a fair, honest, punctual court that would best serve all citizens.
While he was raised by his parents in Lewiston, he has lived on 28th St. in Niagara Falls in the home his grandfather built 60 years ago since graduating from the University of Buffalo Law School 13 years ago. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Duke University (economics, sociology), just the opposite collegiate path of his father, James, who was graduated from the University of Buffalo before earning his law degree at Duke. Like father, like son, almost.
James Roscetti is a partner in the Roscetti & DeCastro law firm and has been chairman of the board of the Memorial Medical Center since 2009. He will be honored next month at Memorial’s annual Premier dinner gala when he will receive the Nancy Gara Spirit Award presented in memory of a Western New York banking executive and former medical center board member who was renowned for her positive attitude and personal commitment to serving the community. Roscetti is also a former Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority commissioner and has held and currently holds numerous other positions in the community.
“I’m so grateful to my father for what he has accomplished and how he’s helped make me the kind of lawyer that I can be proud of,” said Alan. “I’ve learned so much from him, and perhaps most important of all, kindness.”
“He (Alan) lives here in Niagara Falls and the family has a great history of commitment to the community,” said Niagara Falls Republican City Chairman Bill Carroll. Carroll said his committee would meet with all candidates expressing an interest in the expected City Court vacancy–Alan makes three–and would probably not make an endorsement until after next year’s primary.
Michael Gawel, vice chairman of the GOP city committee, said, “I think Alan would make a great candidate and a great judge. I am behind him 100 percent. The Roscetti family has a long history of service to Niagara Falls and Alan has the experience and the temperament to serve on the bench.”
Nick Vilardo, a member of the Niagara Falls City School Board and a retired fire fighter, echoed the sentiments of many folks we talked to about Alan Roscetti’s bid for City Court:
“He’s a wonderful young man, comes from one of the best families in this community, and has the right mix of youth and experience to do the job and serve our citizens firmly but fairly. I wish him all the success in the world. If he wins, we all win.”
Alan has a three-year-old son, Alex, the pride and joy of his mother (Paula) and father, and a sister Maria (Scott) Hamilton who lives on Cayuga Island.
Alan has sent introductory letters to all local party leaders, major and minor, expressing his interest in meeting with them in person to discuss his candidacy. He is admitted to practice in all local, state, and federal courts in Western New York.
The entire family and a boatload of friends and supporters are expected to help formally launch his campaign on Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Hyde Park Ice Pavilion.
“I’m ready for the next step in my career and I’m prepared to work the neighborhoods to let people know that I want the honor of serving them on the City Court bench,” said Roscetti. “I know it will be difficult and there will be others seeking the same seat, but I am ready for the challenge and look forward to meeting and talking to people so they can judge me first-hand. Now is the time, and I’m ready.”