2/8/2016 5:09:02 AM

Cutler Adds Academic Perspective to Judge Search

Monday, March 05, 2012

By Eric Guzman '12

Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Government and Politics Len Cutler, Ph.D., will be using his knowledge of the legal system in his newly appointed role on the Merit Selection Panel as the United States District Court seeks a full-time United States Magistrate Judge in Albany, New York. Cutler was appointed to the panel by the Chief Judge of the United States District Court of the Northern District, Hon. Gary Sharpe. Cutler and six other panelists will be responsible for screening and evaluating the credentials of candidates for the Magistrate Judge position.

“Magistrate judges assist the United States District Judges in the performance of their duties,” explained Cutler. “They are appointed by a majority vote of the federal district judges in the Northern District and are not confirmed by the Senate.”

Their screenings will yield a group of five recommended candidates to Chief Judge Sharpe and his staff, who will then choose the new Magistrate Judge. Cutler explained that their efforts will narrow the pool down to, “distinguished and credible members of the Bar who will serve us to the most effective extent possible.”

Of the seven members on the Merit Selection Panel, Cutler is the only member with an academic background. The panel is traditionally comprised of attorneys who are members of the Federal Bar of the Northern District. Cutler, who is also Siena's pre-law advisor, brings years of experience in higher education and will provide a well-rounded perspective when screening candidates.

“For me, it is quite an honor to interact with members of the legal world in this capacity,” said Cutler. “Although the other members may have experiential and working knowledge to bring to the panel, I will use my knowledge to gauge each candidate’s sense of fairness, commitment to justice and to what extent, and in what capacities, they serve their communities.”

This appointment is not Cutler’s first experience with selection panels. For the past five years he has served on the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission for the Third Judicial District, which is responsible for interviewing candidates for state and local judgeships. Cutler is a well-respected member of the legal community and it is no surprise that he is continuously appointed to panels of such prestige.

Cutler explained that the search for a new Magistrate Judge will work on a tight timeframe. The Merit Selection Panel will present their five recommendations to Judge Sharpe on May 4, and the finalist will be appointed shortly thereafter. Cutler is eager to bring his experience to the panel, and will proudly be representing Siena College as he helps search for an appropriate Magistrate Judge that will represent all constituents of the Northern District.

Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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