The Democratic primary election for Queens district attorney isn't the only race coming up this month. Queens Democrats will also get to vote for civil court judge — for the first time in decades.
Typically the Queens County Democratic Party chooses candidates for judicial openings and they run unopposed. This year, one of the four open seats is contested: Attorney Lumarie Maldonado Cruz is running against the party's pick, defense lawyer Wyatt Gibbons.
The election is countywide, meaning that anyone in Queens who is registered as a Democrat can vote in this particular race.
The New York City Bar Association, which evaluates candidates in contested primary elections, recently rated Gibbons approved and Maldonado Cruz not approved. But a campaign staffer told
Patch that Maldonado Cruz chose not to participate in the bar association's interview.
"Candidates rated Approved have affirmatively demonstrated qualifications necessary for the performance of the duties of the position for which they are being considered," the bar association's website says of its ratings.
The city's civil courts deal with "everyday legal problems," mainly cases involving less than $25,000. The relatively informal small claims court, which deals with matters involving under $5,000, is also part of civil court.
Civil court judges serve 10-year terms, during which they're assigned to different court divisions, known as "parts," or to do miscellaneous court work. Assignments may include family or criminal courts.