Gary Sharpe

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Gary Sharpe
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Northern District of New York
Title:   Chief Judge
Position:   Seat #4
Service:
Appointed by:   George W. Bush
Active:   01/29/2004 - Present
Chief:   2011 - Present
Preceded by:   Thomas McAvoy
Past post:   Northern District of New York, Magistrate Judge
Past term:   1997 - 2004
Personal History
Born:   1947
Hometown:   Cortland, NY
Undergraduate:   U. of Buffalo, B.A., 1971
Law School:   Cornell Law School, J.D., 1974



Gary L. Sharpe is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. He joined the court in 2004 after being nominated by President George W. Bush. He became chief judge in 2011.

Early life and education

Sharpe graduated from the University of Buffalo with his bachelor's degree in 1971 and later graduated from Cornell Law with his J.D. degree in 1974.[1]

Professional career

Sharpe began his legal career as a Senior assistant district attorney for Broome County from 1974 to 1981 before becoming Special assistant attorney general for the New York State Attorney General's Office from 1981 to 1982 before joining the U.S. Attorney's Office from 1982 to 1992 as Supervising Assistant US Attorney for the Northern District of New York from 1982 to 1992 before being nominated by George Bush as an Interim U.S. attorney for the Northern District of New York from 1992 to 1994. Sharpe also served as Senior litigation counsel for the Northern District of New York from 1994 to 1997 and also taught academically as a Adjunct Professor at Binghamton and Broome College from 1978 to 1982.[1]

Judicial career

Northern District of New York

Sharpe was nominated by President George W. Bush on April 28, 2003, to a seat vacated by Thomas McAvoy as McAvoy assumed senior status[2]. Sharpe was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 28, 2004 on a majority voice vote and received commission on January 29, 2004.[2] He became chief judge in 2011.

Notable cases

New York 2012 Primary Date (2012)

On June 27, 2012, Sharpe delivered a ruling establishing the date of the New York congressional primary as June 26 2012, 35 days prior to the deadline for sending absentee ballots overseas. New York originally intended on holding its primary early in September, but the judge found that the original primary date was too late to get up to date ballots overseas. Sharpe wrote in his opinion, "Nothing is more critical to a vibrant democratic society than citizen participation in government through the act of voting. It is unconscionable to send men and women overseas to preserve our democracy while simultaneously disenfranchising them while they are gone. To some extent, that is precisely what New York has done. Having had ample opportunity to correct the problem, it has failed to find the political will to do so." However, many have criticized the early date, claiming that it will cause problems for New York's delayed redistricting process, which has left many candidates wondering which district they are running in. The presidential primary will be held separately on April 24.[3]


Joseph Bruno case (2009)

Judge Sharpe presided in the case of former New York Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Bruno was charged with corruption in an attempt to use his public office for personal gain.

On August 21, 2009, Judge Sharpe rejected a motion from Bruno's defense team asking the grand jury indictment to be tossed out over claims that federal prosecutors were not explicit enough in its findings to indict the former Senator.[4]

Bruno's trial began on November 2, 2009 as Bruno was tried on eight counts of federal corruption charges.[5] The trial concluded on December 7, 2009, when a jury of seven women and five men convicted the former State Senator on two of eight corruption counts. The deliberations took at least one week.[6]

The sentencing for the former Senate leader was originally scheduled for March 31, 2010[6], but got delayed until May 6, 2010 on a judge's order issued on February 24, 2010.[7]. On the same day, the judge denied a request by Bruno's attorneys for a new trial.[7] Judge Sharpe said Bruno's attorneys failed to prove evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to warrant a new trial.[7]

Former New York Governor George Pataki made a plea to Judge Sharpe on May 4, 2010, to look at what Bruno has done during his career before rendering his sentence. Despite Pataki does not condone the actions that Bruno was convicted of, he felt that the offenses Bruno was convicted of is inconsistent with his character. Bruno's attorneys also asked the judge to not consider a prison sentence over health issues the former Senator is facing.[8]

On May 6, 2010, Judge Sharpe sentenced former State Senator Bruno to two years in federal prison. However, Bruno will not have to report to prison immediately pending a Supreme Court of the United States decision on the honest services statute. If the Supreme Court strikes down the law which prosecutors convicted Bruno with, then his conviction would be thrown out.[9]


See also

External links

References

Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Thomas McAvoy
Northern District of New York
2004–Current
Succeeded by:
NA


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