Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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June 10th, 2016

Judge Harold Bauman Heads Magistrates Association

The New York Magistrates Association will be hosting a meeting this weekend at the Villa Roma to discuss important issues confronting Town Judges throughout New York State – And it is no coincidence that the meeting is being held in Sullivan County.

Town of Liberty Judge Harold Bauman holds the honorable position of being President of the New York Magistrates Association and he wanted to showcase Sullivan County to members of the Judiciary throughout New York State.   

The state magistrates’ association, known as NYSMA, is an organization dedicated to making the judicial system more accessible and fair to the citizens of New York.  It provides mandatory training and continuing education opportunities for the state’s more than 3,000 town and village justices, and outreach to the communities they serve.  It also makes recommendations for judicial reform and accountability.

As President of the Magistrate Association, Judge Bauman speaks at meetings held throughout New York State on topics ranging from changes in the law, how to conduct oneself on the Bench, to resolve differences between judges and litigants and to assure the operation of the Courts in a fair and equitable manner.

As President he shares responsibility for the training and qualifications of Town and Village Justices throughout the State. 

Bauman, who shares the Liberty Town Court with Judge Brian Rouke, told me that people often are unaware of the importance of local municipal courts. “Those that frequent justice courts know that the Liberty Court can be a very busy venue.  It is not an overstatement to mention that out of the total of 1225 Town and Village Justice Courts throughout New York State, Liberty ranks near the top in terms of fines and surcharges.”

Town Judges preside over many felony cases in their preliminary stages and sits in review of hundreds of misdemeanors and penal law violations as well as presiding over thousands of vehicle and traffic tickets week after week. 

In addition to the prosecutors’ criminal and vehicle and traffic calendar, there are also town code violations, evictions and small claims. 

Bauman told me that “it is easy to diminish the role of a Town or Village Justice as that venue is merely considered a “local court”.  However, in the view of many people it is the true “Peoples’ Court”.   It remains the place where the little guy can have his day in court arguing about being ripped off by a retailer, complaining about a lousy mechanic or a place to resolve a controversy in a landlord/tenant dispute.”

Judge Bauman has sat on the Village and Town Bench since 2003.  He has served the people of Sullivan County as a lawyer for more than 40 years.  He is a past President of the Sullivan County Bar Association and a member of the New York State Bar Association’s House of Delegates and a fellow of the New York State Bar Association. 

Many people are unaware that there is an important law on the books that establishes the crime of assault on a judge because of an incident involving Judge Bauman.

Back in 2009 Judge Bauman was assaulted after an arraignment of a defendant was charged with a misdemeanor in his courtroom.

Before the law was passed, assault on a police officer, peace officer, EMT, fireman, bus driver or train conductor was and still is a felony, but a person charged with assault on a judge could only be charged with a misdemeanor.

Bauman at the time could not believe there was no law to protect him from such actions, so he decided to contact our local state representatives and do something about it. Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther sponsored legislation to change the law.

The legislation signed into law enacts language that classifies an assault on a judge as a class C felony and adds a judge to the list of professions protected under the Class C violent felony offenses.

Judge Bauman recollecting what happened to him told me, “The defendant was in the custody of a sheriff’s deputy when he bolted out of the courtroom and ran towards the front door of the courthouse. I was walking out of the courtroom and was pushed by the defendant against a bulletin board and a glass window breaking the wall with my left shoulder. While handcuffed, the defendant exited the building and ran down Main St where he was apprehended by Liberty police officers.”

At Catskill Regional Medical Center the defendant was charged with 2 counts of felony assault on police officers, escape and misdemeanor assault on a judge.

Judges are on the front line in defending the public from crime, yet they were ignored by the state until now.

Besides being one of Sullivan County’s most respected members of the judiciary, Bauman was an aerospace engineer who worked on such projects as our Apollo Space missions.

In 1964 Bauman began a career with Grumman Engineering and fulfilled a dream working on the Lunar Module program. He was involved with Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong’s first lunar landing, followed by the ill fated flight of Apollo 13 and the breathtaking rescue mission.

Bauman attended Law School at night after working on spacecraft during the day. In 1973 he came to Liberty to practice law.

It is an honor for all of us in Sullivan County to have Judge Harold Bauman serving as President of the New York State Magistrates Association.

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.

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