Town of Clarkstown

Judges

JUDGE HOWARD GERBER, TOWN JUSTICE

Judge Gerber grew up in Valley Cottage and graduated from Nyack High School (1975), The State University of New York at Geneseo (BA 1979), Pace University School of Law (JD 1982), and is admitted to practice law in all New York State Courts, the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and The United States Supreme Court.

Judge Gerber was re-elected to a four year term as Town Justice, commencing January 1, 2016, having been first elected to a term, commencing January 1, 2007, following his appointment by a unanimous bipartisan vote of the Town Board of Clarkstown in December 2006, to fill a vacancy.

Judge Gerber served as an Assistant District Attorney in Rockland County (1983-1985) and Westchester County (1985 -1994). He served as a Deputy Town Attorney in Clarkstown (2004-2006), as an Arbitrator in White Plains City Court (1994-1999), and as a Police Academy Lecturer.

Judge Gerber is an Active Life Member of the Valley Cottage Volunteer Fire Department, where he has been a member since 1979. He has served as Safety Officer, Lieutenant, Captain, Second Assistant Chief, First Assistant Chief, recently completed his term as Chief of the Department and is now serving as President of Valley Cottage Engine Company #1.

Judge Gerber is a member of the New York State Magistrates Association, the Rockland County Magistrates Association, where he serves as Vice President, the Rockland County Bar Association, the Westchester County Bar Association, the Justice Brandeis Law Society, the Columbian Lawyers Association of Rockland County, the New York State Defenders Association, the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Rockland County Women’s Bar Association

Judge Gerber also belongs to the Valley Cottage, Nanuet and Congers Civic Associations, the Reform Temple of Rockland, the New City Chamber of Commerce, the Congers Valley Cottage Rotary, the Rockland County Volunteer Firemen’s Association, the Rockland County Fire Chiefs’ Association, and the Spring Valley and Nyack Chapters of the NAACP

Judge Gerber lives with his family in Valley Cottage, and maintains a private practice of law, with offices in Nanuet and Westchester.

JUDGE DAVID M. ASCHER, TOWN JUSTICE

Judge Ascher has been a resident of Clarkstown since 2002. He graduated from the University ofRhode Island in 1998, with a B.A. in Political Science. He obtained his Juris Doctorate from Pace Law School in 2002 where he was competitively selected to represent Pace in the National Moot Court Competition.

He began his legal career in the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office in 2002. In 2004 he began private practice representing litigants in commercial, civil and criminal defense litigation. He also maintains an active Real Estate practice including transactions, zoning and planning.

He is admitted to practice law in the State of New York, and in the Federal Courts in Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

Judge Ascher has been Deputy Village Attorney in the Villages of South Nyack, Chestnut Ridge, Airmont and Spring Valley. During his tenure as Deputy Village Attorney he has prosecuted Village Code and Zoning Violations, along with Vehicle and Traffic Violations.

Judge Ascher is active in the Clarkstown Girls Softball League, Clarkstown Soccer Club and Make-A-Wish of the Hudson Valley.

Judge Ascher lives in New City with his wife Allison and their two children.

JUDGE LESLIE KAHN, TOWN JUSTICE

Judge Kahn has a 30-year legal career of dedicated public service and has continuously practiced law since graduating from Law School In 1991.

She served for twenty-five (25) years as a prosecutor with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and conducted hundreds of felony and misdemeanor hearings and trials. As a prosecutor she concentrated in the areas of domestic violence, juvenile crimes, alternative to incarceration programs and gun violence, and held the positions of Bureau Chief – Domestic Violence, Chief – Firearms Prosecution, Chief – Adolescent Diversion.

As Town Attorney for the Town of Clarkstown, Leslie has facilitated the swift investigation and prosecution of illegal multi-family dwellings in Clarkstown and significantly increased the number of prosecutions related to building and zoning code violations.

Judge Kahn was born and raised in New York City by a single divorced mom who worked numerous jobs to support her family. She learned at a young age the importance of hardwork and a good work ethic. She moved to Clarkstown in 1998 with her husband Paul, a lifelong resident, and has three sons, Michael, Steven, and Zachary.

JUDGE MICHAEL BONGIORNO, TOWN JUSTICE

Michael Bongiorno was appointed Clarkstown Town Justice by the Clarkstown Town Board in August 2023.

Bongiorno worked for 30 years as a prosecutor, serving 14 years as a trial attorney, homicide assistant and deputy bureau chief in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, 12 years as the elected District Attorney for Rockland County and 4 years as a senior counsel with the New York State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force. Since 2012, Bongiorno has worked as a criminal defense attorney. Bongiorno is currently co-chair of the Rockland County Bar Association Criminal Law Committee and a long-time member of the CLE committee. He previously served on the Judicial Screening Committee.

As an ADA in Manhattan, Bongiorno tried more than 50 cases to verdict, including numerous homicide cases. For two years he managed the office’s legal training program and produced the office’s first comprehensive trial advocacy and homicide investigation manuals. In 1990, legendary Manhattan DA Robert M. Morgenthau promoted Bongiorno to the position of Deputy Bureau Chief where he was responsible for supervising 50 prosecutors.

In 1995, Governor George E. Pataki appointed Bongiorno as the Rockland County District Attorney following the resignation of the incumbent DA. Bongiorno was subsequently elected to three terms in office. Bongiorno modernized the office and implemented program and policies that led to a more than 40% reduction in reported crime during his tenure. Bongiorno emphasized the prosecution of repeat offender, violent offender and the drug networks that bred violent crime. Innovations included initiating Rockland’s first Drug Court to treat low-level nonviolent offender, updating and upgrading an unproductive Narcotics Task Force, working with other law enforcement agencies to create a Computer Crime Unit and Intelligence Center, and working closely with the FBI and U.S Attorney’s Office to investigate and prosecute governmental corruption. In 2006, Bongiorno personally tried and convicted Douglas Herrera for the high-profile murder of Mary Nagle.

From 2006-2007 Bongiorno’s fellow district attorneys elected him President of the New York State District Attorneys Association. In that capacity Bongiorno pushed for legislation that increased penalties for DWI offender, clarified and strengthened the law against pedophiles who trolled the Internet for victims, and played a key role in the adoption of laws designed to fight human sex and labor trafficking.

In 2008 Bongiorno then Attorney General Andrew Cuomo appointed Bongiorno as a senior counsel with the New York State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force. Bongiorno managed the investigation and prosecution of organized crime activity. The investigations employed sophisticated techniques such as court-approved electronic eavesdropping, video surveillance and computer forensics.

Bongiorno is a graduate of Spring Valley High School, Yale University and an honors graduate of the Washington and Lee University School of Law.