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Grippe, Lee take Rochester City Court primary race

LaToya Lee-Jacquelyn Grippe.jpg
candidates' campaigns
LaToya Lee, left, and Jacquelyn Grippe won the Democratic primary race for Rochester City Court judge on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

Jacquelyn Grippe and LaToya Lee have won a Democratic primary race for Rochester City Court judge, effectively ensuring their seats on the bench in November.

The race for two seats featured four candidates representing unique experiences in the legal field. Grippe and Lee both formerly served as public defenders; the latter was appointed to fill a vacancy on City Court by Mayor Malik Evans in February.

With all districts reporting on Tuesday night, civil rights attorney Van White and Assistant District Attorney Constance Patterson trailed Lee and Grippe by over 10 points. The race was the third attempt White had made for a judgeship in recent years, running for City Court in 2019 and for a county seat in 2021.

“I am humbled and honored by the support that the city of Rochester has shown my candidacy,” Grippe said. “While this is a time for celebration, it is also a time to double down on our commitment to changing the court system to truly ensure equal justice.”

City Court mainly deals with misdemeanors, low-level offenses, and civil issues like housing. All candidates in the race agreed the court should serve as an interventional tool that’s able to direct offenders into needed resources, like drug court or mental health services.

Lee, who lost her sister about two months ago, said the race was a difficult trial.

“It’s been a hard-fought race for me,” Lee said. “...Talk about everything that can go against you in the middle of an election. I’m just grateful that the city of Rochester saw fit to elect me to this position. I was going to work tomorrow whether I’d win or lose.”

“I’m just glad that I can put this part of it behind me and kind of get into the grit and the grind of the work,” she continued.

Gino Fanelli covers City Hall for CITY and WXXI News. He came to CITY as a reporter in 2019 by way of the Rochester Business Journal, and formerly served as a watchdog reporter for Gannett in Maryland and a stringer for the Associated Press.