The Public Defender Has A History with Skidmore
Andrew Blumenberg, a candidate for the Saratoga Springs City Court Judge, has been a public defender in Saratoga Springs City Court for the past 10 years, handling over 10,000 cases in the process. One of these cases was the case of Thomas H. Gorman, the drunk driver who killed a Skidmore student and injured two more on Halloween of 2015.
Blumenberg has served as the primary felony litigator for the entire time that he has worked in the public defender’s office. This means that he has dealt with some of the most serious criminal cases that have occurred over the past decade in Saratoga Springs. Describing it as “muscle memory," Bluemenberg says this decade of experience has enabled him to gain a great deal of familiarity with how the specific apparatus of the City Court works, as well as the specific law enforcement officials.
Blumenberg states that, as a public defender, he has a higher caseload than regular lawyers because of the fact that a public defender only represents the indigent—people who cannot afford a lawyer.
“You have a limited amount of time to make serious, important decisions that affect people’s lives,” said Blumenberg. Sometimes he is only able to meet with his clients for a mere half an hour. Despite how demanding it is, Blumenberg says his work is rewarding.
In comparison to his opponent in this non-partisan election, Blumenberg says he brings 20 years of experience in criminal defense. His opponent, he claims, has minimal experience with such defense. He emphasizes the fact that voters are electing judges for 10-year terms, meaning that people should be careful about the decisions that they make in regards to how they vote.
Blumenberg was hesitant to discuss his defense of Thomas H. Gorman, the drunk driver who killed Skidmore student Michael Hedges and severely injured two other students.
“It was one of the worst days of my professional life listening to Hedges’ friends in court discussing the events of that night at Gorman’s sentencing and calling the testimony—chilling to anybody listening,” he described.
At the same time, however, he states that the Constitution mandates that all criminal defendants should have the right and availability to access competent counsel. Blumenberg briefly stated that his regrets as a public defender included times when he wanted to help people but was unable to, due to reasons such as the existence of incriminating evidence or statements — which occasionally made him feel like he could have done more.
When asked for advice for Skidmore students possibly interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, Blumenberg says it is important to “do your due diligence” before going to law school. Particularly in regards to criminal law, Blumenberg suggests that people should go and observe a criminal court in action firsthand.