ITHACA, N.Y. — The City of Ithaca announced on Monday that local defense attorney Seth Peacock has been selected to serve as the next Ithaca city court judge.
Peacock has most recently worked as a criminal defense attorney, securing the acquittal of Cadji Ferguson on disorderly conduct charges in August, and has been a member of the bar since 2005. He is a graduate of Cornell Law School. Outgoing City Court Judge Scott Miller was elected to serve as Tompkins County judge, leaving this position vacant.
Mayor Svante Myrick cited Peacock’s “balance of legal experience, proven commitment, ties to the community, and innovative ideas to address some of the challenges faced in City Court that made him my choice,” said Myrick in a release Monday afternoon. “I am particularly encouraged by Mr. Peacock’s prior experience serving as one of our City Court Judges in 2014, and the broad backing that he recently received from the local bar.”
Peacock has served as a city court judge previously on an interim basis after previously being appointed by Myrick in 2014.
“I am honored and humbled to serve my community of 20 years as Ithaca City Court Judge,” said Peacock. “In all of my time living in Ithaca, I have tried to be of service whether as an Ithaca City and Tompkins Seneca Tioga BOCES Board of Education member or youth coach and mentor. As judge, I hope to have a positive impact for those who are struggling while at the same time increasing the safety and quality of life for the entire community. I will treat everyone with dignity and respect, and implement innovative approaches to some of the serious issues confronting our community.”
Peacock ran afoul of a few judges in 2011 when, as assigned counsel, he failed to appear on several occasions in their court.
However, it was the manner in which Peacock bounced back from these troubles that made contributed to this appointment.
“I appointed Seth five years ago to be city court judge and it was controversial then, he was a young lawyer that had made some mistakes,” said Myrick by phone Monday afternoon. “Part of his application was a letter from more than 40 lawyers endorsing him, many of which had opposed his appointment previously.”
Along with Peacock’s legal credentials, that letter from local attorneys also points to his involvement with the school board, and coaching and fostering children with his wife, Dawne, as reasons Peacock is a good fit for the position.
“As an attorney, he has represented hundreds of indigent clients. Most recently he successfully represented his client, Cadji Ferguson in the commons case,” reads the letter. “His time as Ithaca City Court judge he demonstrated the necessary respect for the law, experience, intelligence, and temperament required to perform this role honorably. As judge, he was committed to creative, community-based alternatives to incarceration.”
Mr. Peacock’s appointment period will run from January 1 to December 31, 2020. This seat on the court will be filled from 2021 onwards by the winner of next fall’s election.
Ithaca City Court handles various matters including landlord-tenant disputes, evictions, criminal matters, traffic tickets, Small Claims Court, and local law and building code violations.
There are currently two judges in Ithaca City Court. Peacock will work alongside Judge Rick Wallace.