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Judge Russell Bio

Hon. Robert T. Russell, Jr. 

Judge Robert Russell is an Associate Judge for Buffalo City Court and serves by appointment as an Acting Erie County Court Judge. In January of 2008, Judge Russell created and began presiding over the nation’s first “Veterans’ Treatment Court”.   The National Vietnam Veterans of America awarded Judge Russell with the Vietnam Veterans of America “2010 Achievement Medal”.  Also, The National Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States awarded Judge Russell with the “2010 James E. Dan Zandt Citizenship Award”.

Prior to his service as a Treatment Court Judge for veterans, he created Buffalo’s Drug Treatment Court in December 1995 and continues to serve as its Presiding Judge. In addition, in December 2002, he established and began presiding over Buffalo’s Mental Health Treatment Court.  This court oversees treatment cases involving individuals diagnosed with severe mental illness. The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), an advocacy organization for the mentally ill, has awarded Judge Russell the “Nancy D. Smith Memoriam Award”. Also, the Mental Health Association of Erie County has awarded Judge Russell with the “Professional Service Award”.

Judge Russell is the Past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Inc., located in Alexandria, Virginia and the Past President of the New York State Association of Drug Treatment Court Professionals, Inc. He also serves on the National Advisory Board of the Judges’ Criminal Justice/Mental Health Leadership Initiative (JLI).

Judge Russell is the recipient of the 2003 Erie County Bar Association’s “Award of Merit,” the 2009 Erie County Bar Association’s “Justice Award”, the New York State Bar Association “Award for Outstanding Judicial Contribution”, and the 2010 American Bar Association’s “Franklin N. Flaschner Award” for commitment to high ideals, exemplary character, leadership and competence in performing judicial duties.   Community Awards include The Buffalo News “2009 Outstanding Citizen Award” and also the Leadership Buffalo “2010 Openness to Change Award”.