LARCHMONT, N.Y. Republican John De Chiaro is running for town justice in Pelham in the November election. Born in Ponza, Italy, the Pelham Manor resident now works at a law firm in Larchmont.
Question: How did you get involved in the town justice race this year?
Answer: I ran in 2007 against the two sitting judges in the primary and lost. Ever since that point in time, I was ready to go again. I didnt wait for anybody to make their decision. I made my decision. I challenged in the Republican primary. I took one of the spots.
Q: What do you think are some of the important issues in Pelham?
A: There are no issues for judges. We dont make policy. The most important three things for a judge to have are scholarship, you have to be honest, and you have to have the judicial temperament for the job. I think I possess all three of those because I was a law clerk when I was younger. Ive practiced in the trenches in criminal law. I think you have to have a fairly good understanding of criminal law because thats what the justice court entails. Ive had three criminal trials (in Pelham) and Ive gotten three acquittals.
Q: How would your experience as a lawyer help you serve as town justice?
A: For me, its second nature. This is what we do. Theres no comparison. I have hands-on courtroom experience. My other two opponents, I dont think, have that depth of knowledge thats required for a trial judge. You need that hands-on courtroom experience, which I possess.
Q: What was your familys reaction when you decided to run?
A: (laughs) My mother-in law, the first thing she said was, Youre going to lose. My good friend Judge Giamboi, I asked him and he said Youre going to lose. When Judge (Anthony) Pasquantonio dropped out, they said, Maybe you have a chance now. My wife is gung-ho. My mother is 96-years-old, so she doesnt have much of an opinion on it.
Q: What has the reaction been from Pelham residents to your candidacy?
A: Its been very positive. Ive had one Democrat tell me to scram and get off his property. Another one told me not to get on his lawn and a third one told me just yesterday were not voting for you. Other than that, all of Pelham has been supportive. Ive literally been to every corner of Pelham. I think Ive lost about 10 pounds doing that.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.