Moses seeks to protect children in second bid for St. Lawrence County Family Court judge seat

·4 min read

Oct. 16—CANTON — Attorney Andrew S. Moses is running on the Republican and Conservative tickets for St. Lawrence County Family Court judge.

Mr. Moses, of Canton, will face attorney Alexander Lesyk, who is running on the Democratic and Sensible People party lines, at the polls on Nov. 2.

This is Mr. Moses' second bid for the 10-year seat. Family Court Judge Cecily L. Morris has served since 2011, when she defeated Mr. Moses. Judge Morris' term will end Dec. 31.

Prior to Judge Morris' election, Judge Barbara R. Potter was seated for one term, succeeding Judge David S. Nelson, who retired in 2001 after serving on the bench since 1983.

Mr. Moses said he's running because he feels that his background experience "brings a well-rounded perspective on children and families in the county."

"My goal is to protect the children of the county, so if they're in foster care, I'll order services to help reunite them with their family. If that's not possible, I want to find them a forever home," he said. "I don't want children languishing in foster care, and my hope is to make a difference in the children's and families' lives in the county."

Mr. Moses worked for the St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services as a staff attorney from 1992 to 1995, and again from 2015 to 2017.

In this position, he said, he was in court on a near daily basis with case workers handling cases of abuse, neglect, permanency hearings and the termination of parental rights.

Mr. Moses also worked for the St. Lawrence County Attorney's Office as deputy county attorney from 2002 until 2015. As a deputy county attorney, he said worked in family court prosecuting juvenile delinquents with the goal of providing services to address the children's "criminal-like behavior."

Mr. Moses said he was also responsible for defending the county in workers' compensation cases and assisting the county in Board of Legislators issues. He also ran a private practice as an attorney-for-child, which advocates for the child or children in court disputes.

"I think these experiences make me uniquely qualified to handle the caseload in family court," he said.

Mr. Moses said he would like to make family court "as comfortable as possible," adding that he believes he has the temperament to do that.

"I also want to protect the children of the county and give everyone a voice," he said. "In particular, I would love to schedule fewer cases on any given day in order to give each case the attention it deserves."

Mr. Moses is cognizant of the allegations being leveled against the county Department of Social Services and Child Protective Services.

"In all honesty," he said, "what people don't understand is that, as a judge, I can't legislate from the bench."

Rather, he said, the changes that need to occur must come from New York State and the county Legislature.

"What I will do, however, is make sure all aspects of each case are thoroughly followed-up on," he said. "Remember, a judge has to be neutral and impartial, but I would do everything I can to protect the children of the county from the bench."

Regarding what makes him different from Mr. Lesyk, Mr. Moses declined to speak on behalf of his opponent.

He did say, however, that he has the experience in family court, working on family cases for the majority of his nearly 30 professional years, including being an attorney-for-child.

"The way I have carried myself throughout this campaign has shown I have the temperament for the position," he said. "Basically, I think it takes patience and a caring demeanor to be able to sit and listen to people regardless of what walk of life they come from, and allow them to express themselves so that a fair decision can be made."

"When it comes to being family court judge," he added, "anyone can go to law school, read or interpret the law, and make a decision. But it takes more than that to make a difference in people's lives. It takes being a patient and caring individual who loves children and is able to listen to everyone. I believe I am that person, and both professionally and personally, I have always worked to support the interests of children."

Early voting in St. Lawrence County begins Oct. 23. Election Day is Nov. 2.

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