BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — United States District Court Judge for the Western District of New York John L. Sinatra, Jr. ordered Friday the Erie County Board of Elections place Byron Brown on the November ballot for Mayor of Buffalo.
The Brown campaign previously launched a petition to be on the November ballot following his loss to India Walton in the Democratic primary for Mayor of Buffalo. The petition was challenging the new May deadline to file a petition to be on the ballot. The Erie County Board of Elections denied the Brown campaign's petition on August 27.
Monday, a lawsuit was filed in Federal Court on behalf of three Buffalo residents who support Byron Brown for Mayor. The lawsuit “Alleges that New York’s early deadline, as applied to the would-be candidate violates their rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution."
It continued on to state the three Buffalo voters are seeking a temporary restraining order, “Prohibiting Erie County election official from enforcing that deadline, and requiring them to place the candidate’s name on the 2021 general-election ballot.”
Judge Sinatra was assigned to the case, which was heard Friday morning.
In his decision, Judge Sinatra said it burdens the plaintiffs' rights to not have him on the ballot.
Sinatra's brother is Nick Sinatra of Sinatra Development. The 7 Eyewitness News I-Team found Sinatra Development has contributed to the Byron Brown for Mayor campaign several times.
In court Friday, Sinatra said he knows people were saying he should have recused himself and he received phone calls suggesting it, but said there was no legal basis for it.
So who is Judge Sinatra?
According to the U.S District Court, "Sinatra was nominated by President Donald Trump on May 15, 2018, confirmed by the full United States Senate on December 4, 2019, and received his commission from the President on December 5, 2019."
Sinatra attended the University at Buffalo. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree, graduating magna cum laude. He continued on to the University at Buffalo School of Law and earned his Juris Doctor degree.
After law school, he served as a law clerk for the New York State Court of Appeals from 1996-98. He then litigated at Jones Day, an international law firm originally headquartered in Ohio, and then went on to be appointed to the General Counsel Office of the United States Department of Commerce.
After he left the United States Department of Commerce he joined Hodgson Russ LLP, a law firm with an office in Buffalo. He practiced at Hodgson Russ as a partner until he was confirmed as a United States District Judge.
According to the U.S District Court, as a private attorney Sinatra handled "complex civil cases of numerous Fortune 500 companies, individuals, and other significant clients involving high-stakes, multi-jurisdictional litigation matters."