Republicans nominate Sanford Church to be next county judge

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 September 2017 at 8:16 am

Sanford Church

ALBION – Leaders of the Orleans County Republican Party unanimously chose Sanford Church to be the county’s next judge.

About 50 members of the Republican Party Committee met Thursday night and backed Church to be on the ballot for the Republican Party on Nov. 7.

Church, the county’s public defender for the past two decades, has widespread support in the county among attorneys, including James Punch, the county judge for 27 years until retiring on July 29.

Ed Morgan, the GOP chairman for the county, said Republican leaders have full confidence in Church, an Albion resident.

“He’s a good man and will do a great job,” Morgan said.

The GOP Committee also includes members of the local Republican executive committee – the Republican Party chairman from the 10 towns, as well as the county’s state committee representatives.

Punch’s retirement came after the normal endorsement and petition process for candidates. That’s why the party leaders met to pick a candidate to nominate to be on the ballot.

As public defender, Church has represented indigent defendants in felony prosecutions, as well as overseeing the public defender’s office. Church has worked as an attorney for 32 years, including as an assistant district attorney for Punch and Cardone, as well as two other DAs.

Church, a former member of the Albion Board of Education, has practiced law in all of the courts a county judge will preside.

Punch’s retirement left about a four-month gap without an elected judge in the county. The 8th Judicial District based in Buffalo has six judges serving on an interim basis at the different courts formerly led by Punch: Criminal Court, Family Court, Surrogate’s Court and State Supreme Court.

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