Two In Contention For Southampton Town Justice

Karen Sartain and Patrick Gunn

Two candidates are in contention for a seat on the bench in Southampton Town Justice Court — Patrick Gunn and Karen Sartain.

Mr. Gunn is running on the Republican, Conservative, Working Families, and Independence party lines. A Town of Southampton resident for the last 27 years, he’s practiced law in the Southampton Town Justice Court for the last 17 as both a prosecutor and defense attorney. He currently has a private practice and is the prosecutor for the Village of Quogue.

A veteran of the U.S. Navy, magna cum laude graduate of Southampton College with an MBA from C.W. Post and a law degree from Touro Law School, he served in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office from 2003 to 2010. He was the assistant town attorney for the Town of East Hampton from 2010 to 2013, as well as its public safety division administrator. In that role, he oversaw departments involved in code enforcement.

“I’m seeking this position because I love this community and would be honored to serve in this capacity,” Mr. Gunn said this week. Working in Southampton Justice Court in dual capacities — sometimes as prosecutor and sometimes for the defense — he said, “Handling all types of cases, I have gained a unique perspective and appreciation of all positions and opinions, as well as insight into the unique qualities that make the Town of Southampton a special place.”

Karen Sartain is running on the Democratic Party line. She was appointed to fill out the term of Andrea Schiavoni, who was elected to Suffolk County Family Court in 2019.

“Little did I know that soon after my appointment, the COVID-19 pandemic would significantly change the daily operations of the Southampton Town Justice Court,” she said this week. “My role suddenly became a leadership position in addition to my responsibilities as town justice.”

Confronted with the need to pivot, Judge Sartain helped streamline the transition to virtual/remote hearings, assisted with designing the courtroom’s layout to meet state COVID-19 guidelines, and was instrumental in getting town approval for a walk-up window on the exterior of the courtroom.

“I run an efficient and respectful courtroom and wish to be elected town justice to continue the hard work I’ve done this year,” she said.

A Westhampton attorney, Ms. Sartain graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990 and earned her law degree from the University of Miami in Coral Gables in 1993. During law school, she interned at the office of the public defender in Miami and was a volunteer guardian through the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Ms. Sartain represented the city’s indigent clients as an assistant public defender in Miami. In 2016, she became a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County. Two years later, she began her own practice and continued defending clients who lacked resources. She also worked as a volunteer for the East End Regional Intervention Court, commonly known as drug court.

The New York State League of Women Voters has created an online voters guide at with non-partisan information on the candidates, as well as pro and con information on the two Suffolk County propositions on the ballot for the November 3 election.

For the East End, this includes information, supplied by the candidates, on the races for president, U.S. Congress, New York State Senate, State Assembly, State Supreme Court, Suffolk County Family Court, Suffolk County Court, and other local judgeships.

All voters have to do is go to the website and enter their address. The ballot information for that address, as well as other election information, will appear.