ROCK HILL –– Family Court Judge Hon. Mark M. Meddaugh was presented with the Howard A. Levine Award for Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare last week by the New York State Bar Association …
ROCK HILL –– Family Court Judge Hon. Mark M. Meddaugh was presented with the Howard A. Levine Award for Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare last week by the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA).
NYSBA’s Committee on Children and the Law created the Howard A. Levine award in 1986. It is named for retired Court of Appeals Judge Howard A. Levine (Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna LLP), who was the first chair of what was then called the Special Committee on Juvenile Justice.
The award is given to individuals who have a career history of distinguished and longstanding service in the field of juvenile justice and child welfare.
Meddaugh is an alum of Monticello High School, and earned his law degree from Villanova University. He has been a county family court judge for 29 years.
He is a member of the Rock Hill United Methodist Church, a past president of both the Rock Hill Fire Department and the Sullivan County Volunteer Firefighters Association, and is also a Sullivan Renaissance volunteer.
In his acceptance speech, Meddaugh said he followed in the footsteps of friend, colleague and mentor, the Hon. Anthony Kane.
“From day one I learned that the only way that I could comfortably leave work each day was to devote my best efforts to each case that appeared before me that day, whether it involved a day of trials, or an arraignment day when I would hear 80 or more cases a day,” he said. “While the work can take its toll, I believe that everyone who comes before the Court deserves to be treated with respect and that I must give every case my full and undivided attention.”
Meddaugh added that he couldn’t accept the award without recognizing the contributions of those he worked with in Family Court. This includes staff, attorneys who appear before the Court, and in particular the Attorneys for the children that Meddaugh said give a voice to the needs and concerns of some of the most vulnerable members of our society.
He added that they also rely on the expertise of caseworkers from the Department of Family Services, mental health, substance abuse and probation professionals, members of the dispute resolution center, CASA volunteers, foster parents, and even the providers who work in the daycare center at the Court.
“There are many moving parts that need to come together to accomplish the best outcome in each case, and this became especially evident because of the COVID-19 pandemic when many providers were working remotely, and all of the proceedings were conducted virtually,” said Meddaugh. “It has been a frustrating and exhausting experience for all of us, as we attempted to provide the highest quality of work that was possible under these difficult circumstances.”
Lastly, Meddaugh thanked his “biggest fan and source of support,” his wife Robin.
Together they have three sons, three daughter-in-laws and grandchildren Gwendolyn, Tierney, Finnley, Hazel and Holldin. They will soon welcome a new granddaughter.
“Robin and I put a great deal of time and energy into raising our boys, but we never kept track of it, we just did it,” he said. “But now when we see the effort that my sons and their wives put in to raising their children, and the amount of time it takes, it inspires me to work even harder for the children and the families who appear before me. I promise that I will continue to work hard each day to achieve the best outcome for all.”