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Six Dems campaign for City Court seats


This year is proving to be an active election year for Monroe County Democrats, not only for November's general election, in which they hope to take control of the county executive's office, but also for the June 25 Democratic Primary.

Thanks to a change in state law, the primary is three months earlier than usual, but that doesn't seem to have suppressed the number of candidates. There are challenges to many of the party's designations.

That's the case for City Court, where voters will elect two judges. In the June 25 primary, four Rochester attorneys – Barbara Farrell, Aaron Frazier, Nicole Morris, and Van Henri White – are challenging the Democrats' designated candidates, Melissa Barrett and Mark Muoio.


Melissa L Barrett

Education: University of Albany, University at Buffalo Law School.

Appointed Rochester City Court Judge in December 2018 to replace Leticia Astacio.

Previous experience: Monroe County Assistant Public Defender 2000-2004. Principal court attorney, Rochester City Court, 2004-2018.


Barbara E. Farrell

Education: University of Rochester, Western New England College School of Law.

Private practice attorney specializing in family and criminal law.

Previous experience: seven years as attorney in Public Defender's Office.


Aaron T. Frazier

Education: Harvard University, Cornell University Law School.

Trial attorney, Harris Beach law firm.


Nicole Morris

Education: Monroe Community College, Buffalo State, and University at Buffalo Law School.

Assistant public defender, Monroe County Public Defender's Office, 2014 to present.

Previous experience: Clerk, US District Court; attorney, Legal Aid Society, representing victims of domestic violence; foreclosure defense attorney, Empire Justice.


Mark Muoio

Education: Canisius College, Seton Hall University School of Law

Director, housing and consumer law unit, Legal Aid Society; Monroe County Legislator, 21st District, 2016 to present.


Van Henri White

Education: Albany State, Georgetown University Law School.

Private practice attorney; Rochester school board member 2007 to present; school board president 2014 to present.

Previous experience: Monroe County Assistant District Attorney, 1990-1994; City of Rochester Special Counsel on Crime and Violence Initiatives, 1994.