FONDA — Montgomery County Court Judge Felix J. Catena has been named to succeed Vito J. Caruso as administrative judge for the 11-county, 4th Judicial District starting in July, the New York State Unified Court System confirmed.
Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks announced Catena’s appointment.
Catena will supervise a state judicial district that not only includes Fulton, Montgomery and Hamilton counties, but Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Saratoga, Schenectady, St. Lawrence, Warren and Washington counties.
He will oversee the day-to-day management of the trial-level courts in the Unified Court System’s largest geographic district.
Lucian Chalfen, New York City-based director of public information for the New York State Unified Court System, confirmed Monday that Catena will take Caruso’s spot operating scheduling for judges in the Saratoga Springs-based 4th district, effective July 1.
According to the New York State Unified Court System, Caruso is succeeding Judge Michael Coccoma as deputy chief administrative judge for the courts outside of New York City.
Catena has served as a Montgomery County Court judge since 1999. He was re-elected in 2010 and his current term ends in 2019.
During his extra-judicial activities, Catena serves on the New York State Advisory Committee on Evidence and the New York State Criminal Jury Instruction Committee. He is a past president of the Montgomery County Bar Association, and a current member of the New York State Association of Treatment Court Professionals Inc., New York State County Court Judges Association and the Fulton County Bar Association.
He was an unsuccessful state Supreme Court justice candidate for the 4th Judicial District in 2012.
Catena received his B.A. degree from American University in 1979, and his J.D. degree from the California Western School of Law in 1985.
Prior to serving as Montgomery County judge, Catena started his career serving from 1986 to 1999 as an attorney for the Caputo, Aulisi & Skoda law firm. From 1995 to 1999, he served as an Amsterdam City Court judge. From 1992 to 1994, Catena worked as corporation counsel with the city of Amsterdam.
Other work during his legal career has included: 1990 to 1991 — assistant district attorney, Montgomery County; 1987 to 1990: prosecuting attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor; and as a law clerk in 1985.
In a news release issued Thursday by the New York State Unified Court System, Marks stated: “Judge Catena is a highly experienced judge, well respected by his colleagues and the legal community in the Fourth Judicial District. He is a natural leader who has played a key role in the launch of several innovative court initiatives, including the Fourth Judicial District’s first opioid intervention court. I am very pleased that he has agreed to assume this critical administrative post and look forward to working with him in his new role.”
Over the course of his judicial tenure, Catena has been assigned to cases in every county of the 4th Judicial District and conducted jury trials in 10 of the district’s 11 counties.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]