Putnam County Court Judge James Reitz died Friday after suffering a heart attack on the bench, officials said.
Reitz, 57, suffered a heart attack Friday morning, and court officers performed CPR and used an automatic electronic defibrillator to resuscitate him, said Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the state court system.
Court officers accompanied Reitz as he was taken by ambulance to a hospital.
“Unfortunately, he passed away shortly upon arrival there,” Chalfen said.
Reitz, a Mahopac resident, had served as a Putnam County Court judge since 2007, according to New York State Unified Court System records. He was also an acting justice with the state Supreme Court.
Former New York state senator Terrence Murphy told CNN he worked with Reitz often on Reitz’s drug court program.
“He ran the best drug court in New York state,” Murphy said. “He literally saved people’s lives. He’s an iconic person and will be sorely missed.”
Reitz worked as a lawyer in private practice from 1991 to 2006, including serving as a Carmel town justice between 1996 and 2006, according to state records.
The Reitz family, through a statement from their lawyer, asked that people refrain from visiting the home while additional family members are contacted.
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