WHITE PLAINS --Westchester Family Court Judge Ingrid Braslow is
stepping down at the end of the year, giving Gov. George Pataki a third
opportunity to fill a local Family Court judgeship.
Braslow, 58, is moving to Phoenix to be closer to her three
children and two grandchildren in California. She will remain on the bench
in White Plains Family Court through the end of the year. Her retirement
is effective Feb. 1.
"I wanted to complete my caseload, and this was the right time of
the year to make this move," said Braslow, a White Plains resident.
Both Putnam Family Court judgeships were vacated recently. Pataki
appointed Carmel Town Justice Robert Miller this week to replace Judge
William Braatz. A second vacancy will occur in January, when Judge John
Sweeny Jr. moves to the state Supreme Court.
Braslow, a Democrat, has been a Family Court judge since June 1991,
when then-Gov. Mario Cuomo appointed her to fill a vacancy. Five months
later, she was elected to her own 10-year term.
Braslow's resignation leaves five Family Court judges in
Westchester. The timing made it impossible for a special election to fill
the judgeship until November 2000. Pataki can now appoint someone to serve
in the position until then.
Once the vacancy becomes official, the Governor's Judicial
Screening Committee for the region will take applications, interview
candidates and make a recommendation, said Kevin Plunkett, a White Plains
attorney who chairs the committee.
Braslow said she was pleased with her eight years as a Family Court
judge in New Rochelle, Yonkers and White Plains.
"I bring to every case my undivided attention," she said. "There
are very private disputes that are dealt with in Family Court; you're
looking into people's personal lives. It requires having an antenna of
She came under fire in 1994 following the death of Anne Scripps
Douglas, the newspaper heiress whose husband, Scott, beat her to death in
her Bronxville home on Dec. 31, 1993.
Three weeks before the fatal beating, Braslow had issued an order
of protection prohibiting Scott Douglas from harassing or assaulting his
wife, but she allowed Douglas to remain in the house. The judge said later
that she was not aware that Douglas had already hit his wife and
threatened her life.
"What happened was terribly unfortunate, but it's very easy to use
hindsight," Braslow said. "At the time, you must use what evidence you
have before you. Orders of protection are strong. The fault lies not so
much in the system but in the abuser."
Amy Paulin, executive director of My Sister's Place, a shelter for
battered women, said Braslow had overcome that criticism and gone on to
make an impact on domestic violence in the county.
"It's a loss to Westchester," Paulin said. "She ran a professional
courtroom and made fair decisions."
Paulin said she hoped a worthy replacement for Braslow was selected
quickly so that the backlog of cases in Family Court did not worsen.
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