Prior to his passing on October 16, 2016, Joseph A. Suozzi was an esteemed member of the firm at Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. located in Garden City, Long Island, N.Y.. He was the third of Glen Cove’s City Court Judges when he was elected in November 1949 at the age of 28, and was said to be the youngest elected or appointed Judge in the United States.
Born in the obscure medieval southern village of Ruvo del Monte located in the province of Potenza, Italy, Judge Suozzi and his mother, Rosa Ciampa, immigrated to the United States in 1925. They joined his father, Michele, who had preceded them to the United States arriving here in 1913. Before returning to Italy in 1920 to marry, Michele Suozzi had served in the U.S. Infantry and had become a naturalized citizen. As a result of this, Judge Suozzi was a citizen of the United States.
Judge Suozzi attended elementary and high school in Glen Cove and Oyster Bay. He volunteered as an Aviation Air Cadet prior to his graduation from college. He entered military service with the United States Air Force during World War II and became a navigator assigned to a B-24 bombing crew of the 15th Air Force. Based at Torretta Air Field in Cerignola, Italy, he was less than 50 miles from his birthplace. He completed 35 bombing missions in Austria, Yugoslavia, Germany, and Italy, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three Clusters.
After attending Harvard Law School, Judge Suozzi was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York and joined with then Glen Cove Mayor Luke Mercadante as a law partner with an office in Glen Cove. The law firm became Mercadante, Suozzi, and Sordi, with the addition of Nicholas A. Sordi, and later Suozzi & Sordi, until his election to the Supreme Court in 1960.
Elected to the bench of the City Court of Glen Cove 1949 and re-elected in 1953, Judge Suozzi resigned in September of 1955 to become a candidate for Mayor of Glen Cove and Supervisor of the County of Nassau. He served as Mayor from 1956 until 1960. In 1961 he was elected to a fourteen year term as Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, and was re-elected in 1974 for another term with bipartisan support. In 1976, then Governor Hugh Carey appointed him Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department. In 1980, he left that bench and resumed the general practice of law as a senior partner in the law firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C.
Judge Suozzi was the father of former Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi, who followed in his father’s footsteps when he was elected the Mayor of the City of Glen Cove at the age of 31, and became the youngest person ever to hold the Nassau County Executive position, which he held from 2002-2009. Judge Suozzi had four other children, the late Joseph M. Suozzi, attorney / accountant who was associated with Deutsche Bank in Europe, daughter Rosemary Mancini Lloyd, who is a Unitarian Minister and is presently Assistant Pastor of the First Church of Boston, Dr. William Suozzi, a doctor of internal medicine, and Christopher Suozzi, who is associated with Credit Suisse First Boston.