Saratoga’s First Woman City Court Judge Seeks Election
Judge Francine Vero is the first woman appointed to the position of City Court Judge in Saratoga Springs, NY. Vero is seeking election by the public in the upcoming election on Nov. 7.
If elected, Vero would be one of the two City Court Judges. She would continue to hear all domestic violence cases, vehicle and traffic issues, DWI cases, parking enforcement, and tenant/landlord issues.
A third generation Italian-American, Vero comes from a humble middle-class family that resides in Albany, NY. Her father worked for the state and her mother was a receptionist.
“I never wanted to be anything but a lawyer,” says Vero, who grew up in a low-income area where crime rate was high and opportunities were lacking. Vero says she was also very self-aware from a young age, starting to work at the age of 14: “I bagged groceries. I started waiting tables. I bartended.”
Having struggled financially through her college and law school years, Vero has always been dedicated to public service. She graduated cum laude from Providence College with a degree in English, saying she chose the major due to the importance of writing in being a successful lawyer. She also graduated cum laude from Albany Law School with a concentration in business law.
In addition, Vero has always had a passion to serve victims of domestic abuse. She says this issue has been present in her mind for as long as she remembers because it can affect everyone, whether we realize it or not. Domestic violence is not limited to abuse between couples, but includes any offense from a family member, she emphasizes. In her spare time in college and law school, Vero would volunteer at domestic violence shelters, and intern and clerk at various law firms to gain experience.
Vero came to Saratoga Springs ten years ago upon her appointment as a senior counsel at Harris Beach PPLC, one of the country’s most prestigious law firms. There, Vero took on several pro-bono domestic violence cases. “As someone who understands the law, you want to empower the victims through law,” she said.
Her transition from being a practicing lawyer to becoming a judge occurred only a year ago when Mayor Joanne Yepsen appointed her City Court Judge in December 2016. This made Vero the first woman in Saratoga Springs history to hold the position. “These symbols matter,” asserts Vero, addressing the lack of female role models in the legal field and her passion to serve as such a model in order to inspire young women to seek legal careers.
Judge Vero has handled over 500 civil cases, none of which have been overturned. Vero also claims she has the right judicial temperament for the City Court position. “The law is the law, but I have a discretion in some instances. I want to use that discretion fairly and wisely, as I have before,” says Vero. She realizes the magnitude of power her position holds, as well as the responsibility that comes along with that.
Vero believes a judge’s duty is to give back to the community, which she has done in numerous ways. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Saratoga County Bar Association as well as the Board of Directors of the Saratoga Springs Rotary Education Foundation. She is also the Continuing Legal Education Chairperson of the Adirondack Women’s Bar Association.
Apart from her dedication to community service and her distinguished record on the bench, Vero is devoted to her job. “Being a judge is a 24-hour job. Sometimes the police call me at 1 a.m. and I have to be there,” says Vero.
Though not a politician, Judge Vero has enjoyed meeting voters who she otherwise would not have met during the course of her campaign. Vero's two big plans after Election Day include spending “an uninterrupted day” with Isabella and Luca, her niece and nephew, and adopting Gracie, a rescue pit bull she found at a shelter for rescued animals.
Judge Vero has been endorsed by the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee, Independence Party of Saratoga County, New York Working Families Party, New York Women’s Equality Party, New York State Young Democrats, Saratoga Springs Firefighters, and the Saratoga Country Central Labor Council.
Saratoga City elections will be held on Nov. 7.