LaBuda retires, but will serve again

By FRITZ MAYER
Posted 12/11/19

ROCK HILL, NY — Local judges and members of the Sullivan County Bar Association gathered at The Sullivan on December 6 for a yearly gathering and to celebrate Sullivan County Court Judge Frank …

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LaBuda retires, but will serve again

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ROCK HILL, NY — Local judges and members of the Sullivan County Bar Association gathered at The Sullivan on December 6 for a yearly gathering and to celebrate Sullivan County Court Judge Frank LaBuda. LaBuda has turned 70, and under New York State Law must now retire from the bench. But judging from comments made by those honoring him and words from the judge himself, it seems likely he will continue to pursue public service in some other position.

“[LaBuda], of all county court judges throughout New York State, has more published court opinions… than any other judge.” said Sullivan County Supreme Court Judge Stephan Schick, who has known Labuda for decades.

Schick also noted that LaBuda has served as an unofficial ambassador for the U.S. legal system and lectures about it in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Moldova, Germany, Turkey, Lithuania, South Africa, Uganda, Ghana, Namibia, South Korea, India and Albania.”

Schick also said that LaBuda was the driving force behind bringing a Vetrak court program, to aid veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome and addiction, and a drug treatment court program to Sullivan County long before those programs appeared in other rural counties.

More than one of the judges who spoke said they did not see LaBuda retiring, but instead finding some other way to serve the county and the public, a thought LaBuda repeated in his own remarks.

“These life-long experiences over the last 40 years enable me to do what I have been so privileged to do: serve all of you, develop many new programs and procedures and make a difference,” :LaBuda said. “Retirement is not in my dictionary or my blood. Leaving one’s job and ceasing to work. Not me. I don’t retreat, I simply fight in another direction. Service to you and our county is the oxygen in my blood.”

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