ROCHESTER, N.Y. — State Supreme Court Justice Elma Bellini died Sunday, Administrative Judge Craig Doran confirmed. She was 63 years old.
“Today, we are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague,” Doran said in a statement. “We have lost a warm and wonderful friend and our community has lost a fierce, extraordinarily competent defender of justice.”
Justice Bellini was elected to her current position in the 7th Judicial District in 2009. She had been an acting Supreme Court justice, appointed by Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, from 2004 to 2008.
Her term was to end in 2022.
The 7th Judicial District covers Wayne, Livingston, Cayuga, Seneca, Yates, Ontario, Steuben and Monroe counties.
She began her tenure on the bench in 2000, when then-Gov. George Pataki appointed her as a Monroe County Court judge. She was elected to that position in 2001, serving until 2008.
She is best known for having challenged popular incumbent Monroe County District Attorney Howard Relin as a Republican in 1999, when Justice Bellini was a law clerk to state Supreme Court Justice L. Paul Kehoe. Relin won with 63% of the votes.
Justice Bellini also served 10 years in the Public Defender’s Office. She was a graduate of Syracuse University Law School, the State University College at Brockport and Monroe Community College. She was active in Big Brothers, Big Sisters; the Boy Scouts of America Explorers program; Camp Good Days and Special Times; and Families with Children From China, with her own adopted daughter, Dannielle, from China.
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