PITTSFIELD -- William A. Rota has been confirmed by the Massachusetts Governor's Council as an associate justice at Southern Berkshire District Court.
Rota, an attorney in Pittsfield and former prosecutor, was nominated by Gov. Deval Patrick to fill a vacancy resulting from the retirement of Judge James B. McElroy.
On Wednesday, the eight-member Governor's Council, which approves judicial and other nominations from the governor, was unanimous in its approval. Rota was interviewed by the council on July 23.
"I am honored and humbled," Rota said when reached by phone after the confirmation. "I look forward to the swearing-in."
Michael Albano of Longmeadow, the council member representing the Western Massachusetts district, said the vote followed just five minutes of discussion Wednesday.
He said he made a motion to approve Rota's nomination, and Councilor Robert Jubinville of Milton also spoke in favor. Rota was "well received" by the council during his July 23 hearing, Albano said.
"It was a classic no-brainer for the council," he said.
Rota "will make an excellent addition to the judiciary, especially in Berkshire County," Albano added. "He will assist with the case load in Western Massachusetts and in Berkshire County particularly."
The Southern Berkshire District Court vacancy was extended after an earlier nominee to the post, Michael J. McCarthy, also a Pittsfield attorney, was rejected by the Governor's Council in fall 2012 on a controversial tie vote.
McCarthy challenged the decision after a councilor who had abstained later tried to change her vote to one in his favor. His appeal is now before the state Supreme Judicial Court.
Rota served early in his career as an assistant district attorney in Berkshire County and has more than 30 years experience of private practice experience in civil and criminal litigation. He worked in the firm of Cain, Hibbard, Myers & Cook for many years, and since 2000, he has maintained his own practice in Pittsfield.
On July 21, Albano and Jubinville, along with the Berkshire Bar Association, hosted a public input session on Rota's nomination at Berkshire Superior Courthouse. About 80 people attended to support the attorney, and a number of speakers from the legal community offered words of praise.
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