OSSINING, N.Y. Judge John Fried said he enjoys helping people resolve legal disputes in a way that brings finality to the decision.
"I like to end a dispute so that people can move on to more important things in their lives," the judge said. Fried, 65, has been serving on the town justice court since March, when the town board unanimously appointed him to the position, after Justice Edwin Shapiro retired.
Currently, Fried is the incumbent candidate for one of two town justice seats that are up for election in November. He is endorsed by the Democratic, Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines.
Fried's opponents are Mike Tawil, a town councilman endorsed by the Democratic party, and John Mangialardi, who is running on the Republican, Independence and Conservative party lines.
In addition to serving as town justice, Fried and his partner own a law firm Fried and Epstein that deals with insurance policy holders who have disputes with insurance companies. They have offices in Pleasantville, Manhattan and Philadelphia.
Before starting his own law firm, Fried served as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan from 1972 to 1990. He was the chief of the trial bureau, the chief of the rackets bureau that deals with organized crime, the senior trials counsel and the chief of the trial division during various times as assistant DA. During his last four years in the position, he supervised all homicides prosecuted in Manhattan.
"I did miss being assistant DA for a while, but I enjoy helping people get insurance," Fried said, adding that being a town judge is now a good way to serve the community as a lawyer. Since most people who appear in justice court don't have lawyers, Fried said he believes it is important to write decisions explaining why he ruled the way he did.
"In the short time I've been on board, I've already had one decision published in the New York Law Journal," Fried said. He noted that his private law practice has done a lot of pro-bono work, including helping a man who owned a shoe shine business in the World Trade Center file an insurance claim after 9/11, and helping a disabled Ossining resident win a settlement against an insurance company that claimed he wasn't disabled.
The town justice position is a part-time position that pays about $35,000 per year. Judges serve for four-year terms.
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