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Justice Vaughan roasted at party to celebrate his retirement from the Brooklyn bench

November 18, 2019 Rob Abruzzese
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The Brooklyn legal community said goodbye to Justice David Vaughan, who has served as a judge in the borough since he was elected to the bench in 1992, with a party at El Caribe in Mill Basin on Wednesday night.

Justice Vaughan is a Brooklyn College and Fordham Law School graduate whose career started in private practice before he became chief counsel for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

In 1992, he was elected to the Kings County Supreme Court, where he currently sits in the Civil Term. He was reelected to that position in 2006.

Joe Bova addresses the crowd, but Justice Vaughan is making sure he doesn’t say too much.

As a member of several of the local bar associations, including the Brooklyn Bar Association, the Bay Ridge Lawyers Association, the Catholic Lawyers Guild and the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn, he had no problem drawing a crowd of over 200 friends, family and colleagues.

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Justice Mark Partnow, who served as Justice Vaughan’s law clerk for 11 years, served as the master of ceremonies for the retirement celebration. He welcomed everyone and introduced a group of Vaughan’s close friends who each got up and spoke.

District Leader Joseph Bova solemnly spoke, looking at his notes, “He’s a leader, he’s a champion, he’s a patriot— wait. These are notes for tomorrow night’s speech.”

From left: Mark Partnow, Sue Ann Partnow, Christina Pesce and Hon. Michael Pesce.

From there, the event practically turned into a roast. Ray Ferrier, a longtime friend, spoke about how hard it is to take Justice Vaughan to a restaurant.

“He dresses in designer clothes, wears designer watches,” Ferrier said. “If he finds anything amiss at the restaurant, even in the men’s room, he will say, ‘You like this place?’”

Justice Matthew D’Emic presented Justice Vaughan with a statue of a judge that he joked was commissioned to look like his longtime friend but was in fact just a generic judge.

Hon. Lawrence Knipel and Hon. Robert Miller (right) singing “Forever Young”.

“His earnest curiosity, quiet confidence, acerbic wit, riveting intensity, lucid consistency, refined dignity, and of course his well-defined widow’s peak and piercing brown eyes,” D’Emic said in commenting on why the statue reminded him of Justice Vaughan. “A spirit that does not tarry in the halls of patience, a remarkable work of art.”

Joseph Rosato, known as “Mr. Bar Association,” commented on Justice Vaughan’s passion for golf and said that it is admirable, “to love something so much that doesn’t love you back.”

Rosato added that Justice Vaughan’s new life partner Bunny Mitchell is a godsend. “She has made our relationship with David more tolerable,” he joked.

Bunny Mitchell and Hon. David Vaughan react to some of the speeches.

Justice Lawrence Knipel and Justice Robert Miller got up and sang “Forever Young” to Justice Vaughan together. Bova presented him with a citation on behalf of the State Assembly and when he finally got up to the podium himself, Justice Vaughan led a group of his friends in singing “This Magic Moment.”

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