Election 2023

Election Guide 2023: Meet the candidates for Southold Town Justice

Election Day is Nov. 7. All this week, meet the candidates.

Southold Town Justice

Term: 4 years, no term limit

Salary: 2023: $80,015; proposed 2024: $85,000

Responsibilities: Adjudicate matters that occur within the Town of Southold or the Village of Greenport consisting of vehicle and traffic violations, penal law offenses, parking violations, town and village code violations, landlord and tenant disputes and civil and small claim actions. 

Daniel C. Ross

Party: Democratic, Working Families

Hamlet: Mattituck

Occupation: Southold Town Justice and practicing attorney in Mattituck

Mr. Ross seeks a second term as a Southold Town Justice. His tenure as justice is informed by his practice of law in Mattituck for the past 37 years, his public service as a town Councilman, and his municipal law experience as village attorney for Greenport. He has lived on the North Fork since 1986, where he and his wife, Karen, raised three daughters. Mr. Ross’ extensive knowledge of the law and the issues facing Southold residents makes him a strong, fair and compassionate justice. He has been a practicing attorney in the Supreme Court in Riverhead and the Southold Town Justice Court for more than 30 years. He is a member of the NYS Bar Association, the Suffolk County Bar Association and the NYS Magistrate’s Association.

In addition to his law practice and municipal positions, Mr. Ross has served in volunteer capacities including on the San Simeon nursing home Board of Directors (formerly president), Homeowners Association president, Chamber of Commerce member, director of North Fork Soccer League, youth sports coach 1987 to 2006 and CCD Instructor. 

Pitch: With respect to his views on particular issues, Mr. Ross said justices should not address such matters outside their application to a particular case. The job requires impartiality and a fresh look at every single case and that is what he is committed to: —dealing with each case on the facts before the court.

Mr. Ross said his 40 years in the courts of the State of New York and 37 years in private practice on the North Fork give him the tools necessary to handle the Town Justice position. 

In his words: “My legal and personal background make me the best person for the job, which I thoroughly enjoy for the challenges it presents each time I take the bench.”

Brian J. Hughes

Party: Republican,Conservative

Hamlet: Southold

Occupation: Attorney

Mr. Hughes, who served as Southold Town Justice from 2015 to 2019, graduated magna cum laude from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and St. John’s School of Law while working full-time as a New York City firefighter. As a Southold resident for the past 35 years, Mr. Hughes has volunteered to help the poor, those with substance abuse issues and average citizens within the community. He defended the poor as part of the Assigned Counsel Defender Plan of Suffolk County (18B) Felony Panel. As Southold Town Justice, he volunteered in the East End Regional Intervention Court (drug court) helping defendants with substance abuse issues. Mr. Hughes was a member of the Southold Ethics Board for nine years and was its chair for six of those years. He was an active member of the Southold Justice Review & Reform Task Force, Part 1.

Mr. Hughes said he is the only judicial candidate who completed the NYS Unified Court System Judicial Campaign Ethics Training Program, and is the only candidate the Suffolk County Bar Association judicial screening committee has found qualified for judicial office in this election. Mr. Hughes said he is also the only judicial candidate endorsed by any public safety groups. He is endorsed by 14 such groups, including the NYS Troopers PBA and the Suffolk County Police Conference, of which the Southold Town Police PBA is a member. 

Pitch: The Justice Court is, by definition, a “local criminal court,” an important component of the criminal justice system. Mr. Hughes’ experience shows a lifelong commitment to criminal justice and an equal application of the law. His courtroom experience and executive administrative expertise makes for a perfect fit to be a town justice.

In his words: “One town, one standard. Regardless of race, color, creed, or language, all are entitled to equal justice.”