April 27, 2011: Faced with a district attorney who is about to throw the book at a young Eastchester drug offender, Judge James P. Connors, Jr., of the Eastchester Town Court is likely to advise, "Use your common sense." The judge then orders the youngster to bring his father to court at the next session. In one case, the father turned out to be a New York City police officer, and two weeks in a row his son said his father was too busy. Judge Connors then said that if he did not appear, he would call the policeman's captain. The father did appear, and he told the judge remorsefully, "This is the last time you'll see my son."
"Insisting that parents appear works pretty well," Judge Connors said. "After all, parents do have responsibility for their teenagers' behavior." In cases where the judge advises against giving young offenders a criminal record, they may receive such punishment as community service or probation.
Judge Connors retired in March after twenty-eight years. On his last day on the bench, his five fellow judges held a retirement ceremony. Judge George McKinnis of Bronxville recalled that before his own first day in court, Judge Connors showed him the ropes. Over the years, Judge McKinnis said, "I saw him express dignified calm and neutrality to all, the greatest and the least who came before him. He was able to maintain his dignity even when some of the statements of the people who came before him would make a statue break into laughter."
His tenure saw an increase in drug-related cases and, more recently, offenses involving use of cell phones that take photographs. Gossip may turn into harassment by boys and girls that sometimes grew to the point that the judge had to issue orders of protection.
The Eastchester Town Court, whose duties he shares with Judge Dominick Porco, has a heavy load of civil, criminal (including some murders), misdemeanor, and parking violation cases--90 last month. Nighttime sessions are held weekly, and trials at other times. The paperwork is heavy, including reports to the state controller and the Office of Court Administration.
Judge Connors was educated at Fordham College and St. Johns University School of Law. He served on the boards of several banks, presiding over seven mergers, the last of which was First Union, and was appointed to the bench to fill an empty seat. Judge Connors then just squeaked through a reelection campaign. After that, his wife, Peg, assumed many of the duties of running his next four-year reelection campaign, quite successfully.
Judge Connors pays tribute to the staff of the court--Rocco Cacciola, Camille Taicner, Carmela Chiazetta, and Ann Marie Rella. He is also grateful to Eastchester's detectives--"smart and likable, whose skillful interviewing saves the town considerable funds by not having to hire outside experts. "It costs the Town of Eastchester $370,000 to run the court, but it takes in $1.2 million in fines."
The Connorses have five children, none of them lawyers. He will continue his private law practice, mainly real estate and estates, in White Plains.
Pictured here: Judge James P. Connors, Jr.
Photo by N. Bower
Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.
While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.
Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.
The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.
Village of Bronxville Administrative Offices
Open 9:00am - 4pm excluding holidays and weekends
Bronxville Police Department
Open 24 hours
Bronxville Parking Violations
Open 9:00am - 4pm excluding holidays and weekends
Bronxville Fire Deparment