By Andrew Rogers and Leah Seyoum
Canalside Chronicles Staff
The town of Clarkson has a new town justice in Republican judge Ian Penders. At the age of 29, Penders is one of the youngest judges in New York state.
Penders decided to run because of his relationship with Clarkson’s other town judge.
“I really liked the other judge in Clarkson,” Penders said, referring to his new colleague Town Justice Christopher T. Wilcox. “I’ve known him my whole life so I knew that working with him wouldn’t be an issue. I also saw an opportunity to run for judge at a young age, and I knew it wouldn’t be too much more on top of what I’m already doing.”
Penders has worked with Xavier DWI Defense Attorneys as an Associate Attorney since 2014, according to the firm’s website. Even though Penders is now a town justice of Clarkson, he hasn’t left his roots.
“I’m still a practicing attorney,” Penders said. “I do all criminal defense work. I’m not allowed to practice in some courts in Monroe County due to conflicts now that I’m a judge, but I still practice outside of county and in city court.”
In the state of New York, judges are not required to have legal experience. However, Penders credits part of his win to his previous experience as an attorney.
“I don’t want to speak badly about the guy I ran up against, but at the end of the day it came down to the fact that he was not an attorney,” Penders said. “He’s never been an attorney.” In the end, Penders won with 55 percent of the vote, according to WHEC News.
Ian’s brother, Cameron Penders, was an asset to Ian’s campaign.
“I went to Brockport High School, so I know a lot of people who live in Clarkson,” Cameron said. “I’d just ask them that if they had the time to go out and Vote for Ian.”
Peter White is a Clarkson resident who voted for Ian in the past election.
“I’m friends with Cameron and he introduced me to Ian a few times,” White said. “Ian seemed like a good guy who is qualified for the job so he got my vote.”
Penders does not have further political aspirations, but at the age of 29 anything can change.
“When you’re in the courtroom, you kind of get to run the show and everything goes through you, so it’s kind of more exciting than being an attorney,” Penders said. “I definitively can’t say definitely, but as of right now, I would definitely run again.”
Penders said he isn’t trying to stir the pot much, but rather maintain the institution of justice in Clarkson. As Penders put it, “I just hope that at the end of my four years that everyone agrees that the integrity and fairness of the court has been built upon, exceeded anyone’s expectations. I don’t want anyone to ever think that the court lost some sort of value. If anything, I want them to think it’s a better court now that we have two attorney judges.”