Michael McGuire announces his candidacy with his wife Corrine at his side.
Story and photos by Ted Waddell
MONTICELLO – On Wednesday, March 24, local attorney-at-law and former Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Michael F. McGuire officially tossed his hat into the political ring in a bid for the seat of Sullivan County Judge & Surrogate Hon. Burton Ledina, who is scheduled to retire at the end of the year.
With his wife Corrine at his side, McGuire announced his candidacy on the Republication ticket at a press conference held’s at ‘high noon’ at Mr. Willy’s Restaurant.
In introducing the candidate to the audience, Dick Coombe, chairman of the local Republican Committee, said, “The Mike McGuire I know works 24/7…he’s worked for young people, and we feel he should be and will be Sullivan County Family Court Judge.”
Before the start of the press conference, McGuire said he is “uniquely qualified for this position…leaders in the community owe an obligation to give back to the community to make it better than it is today.”
“If we don’t focus on education and children, the community has no chance.”
McGuire served as an ADA under DA Steve Lungen, and recalled trying the 2004 vehicular homicide case against Kenneth Newman, a case the prosecution won in the wake of a mistrial on legal technicalities.
“It was a tragic case where a designated driver consumed alcohol, cocaine and marijuana and killed the bride on the night of the engagement party,” he recalled.
During the “Garbage Can Murder” case against former Special Forces operative Hal Karen, McGuire assisted Lungen is getting a conviction of the former US Army soldier who killed his wife Tammy, stuffed her into a trash can and dumped his spouse’s remains over an embankment.
“We worked with the New York State Police and the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office to solve a crime that had gone cold for three years until people found the bones,” recalled McGuire.
Asked what it was like to work with DA Lungen and former senior ADA Jim Farrell (now the county’s DA), McGuire replied, “I learned at the knees of the best.”
During his remarks at the press conference, the candidate said. “I’ve spent the last 30 years of my life preparing to be Sullivan County Court Judge…the collective experiences I’ve had in my personal and professional life have prepared me well to follow the fine tradition of jurisprudence this county has enjoyed, judges like Lawrence Cooke, a former Chief Judge of the highest court in the state, the Court of Appeals [and] more recently judges like Anthony Kane, retired Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, and most immediately Judge Burton Ledina … a man committed to fundamental fairness and even-handed justice…”
McGuire said the judgeship he is seeking is unique in that it is not only a traditional county court judgeship “presiding over the most serious criminal cases”, but also in the role of acting Family Court Judge “presiding over issues involving custody and juvenile delinquency, child support, child abuse and family violence.”
McGuire related how he fought for custody of two of his children several years ago, and as an unemployed single father “remained current in my child support obligations because I accepted that my obligation to my children came before my own self-indulgence, a concept that is all too often lost on dead beat parents who elect not to support their children as a means of punishing a former spouse, preferring to have the government support their children, a thought process which cannot be tolerated.”
If elected County Court Judge & Surrogate, McGuire pledged to insure that everyone who appears before his bench will be treated with respect and dignity, but issued this warning to defendants found guilty of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, “I’ll use all the tools which the law provides to protect this community from them.”
“Our streets are progressively being taken over by children turning to crime often to remedy the shortcomings in their own homes,” he said in addressing the complex issues related to juvenile delinquency and what drives kids to a life on the dark side of justice. He said he would work closely with community action groups and attorneys appearing before him who represent youthful offenders to “heal broken families and teach children that violence is never a path to success, and to teach mothers and fathers what it means to be a parent.”
“My only agenda will be the health and safety of our community, our senior citizens and our children,” said McGuire in closing.
Qualifications: Michael F. McGuire
- Education - Bachelor of Science, Manhattan College, 1981 (graduated Magna
Cum Laude); Master of Arts, University of Northern Iowa, 1983 (graduated
Suma Cum Laude); Juris Doctor, Pace University, 2001 (graduated Magna Cum
- Family – The McGuires reside in Liberty and have three sons- Kevin, a
senior at SUNY Cortland; William, an 11th grader at Liberty High School;
and Carl, a 5th grader at Liberty Elementary School.
- Coaching Experience - Former athletic director and baseball coach at Mount
Saint Mary College in Newburgh, former athletic director at Sullivan
County Community College (the men’s basketball team won three NJCAA
Division III national championships); coaches youth baseball.
- Current Private Law Practice - Family Court, juvenile delinquency cases,
child support, criminal defense, civil litigation, and real estate.
- Community Service - Vice President of the Liberty Central School Board of
Education, Liberty Elks, Instructor with the Office of Court
Administration’s Judicial Training Institute, and counsel to the New York
State Police Troopers PBA.