Mastroianni confirmed as federal judge in Senate vote

WASHINGTON (WWLP) – Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni will soon be Judge Mark Mastroianni.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Mastroianni’s nomination to be a federal judge in a vote late Wednesday morning.

Mastroianni will have to vacate his position as District Attorney when he is sworn in to be a federal judge.  Mastroianni wasn’t sure when that will happen, but he expects it to be sooner than later.

President Obama nominated the D.A. to fill a judicial vacancy at the U.S. District Court in Springfield, replacing retiring Judge Michael Ponsor.

The nomination advanced Tuesday night in a Senate executive session, with a vote of 56-39. Wednesday’s vote for Mastroianni was much less close, with the full Senate voting to confirm the appointment 92-2.

“It’s in a lot of ways bittersweet, walking away from this fantastic job which I care so much about but on the other hand I’m looking forward to this tremendous opportunity that I have knowing how lucky and fortunate I am,” said Mastroianni.

Prior to the vote, Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey said praised Mastroianni, saying that he will make an excellent judge.

“The people of western Massachusetts have been waiting nearly three years for a federal judge to once again preside in Springfield, and Mr. Mastroianni is a great choice to serve the Commonwealth and the country,” Markey said.

Governor Deval Patrick will now have to choose a replacement to fill the rest of Mastroianni’s term as District Attorney. Meanwhile, five Democrats are running for their party’s nomination to replace Mastroianni, who was elected as an independent. No Republican or independent candidates have announced a run in the November election.  Patrick is out of the country until Thursday.

Governor Patrick’s spokesperson Juli Hanscom sent 22News this statement: “We congratulate Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni on his appointment to the federal bench. Governor Patrick will make an appointment in a thoughtful and expeditious manner so that the needs of Hampden County continue to be met.”

That D.A. will be in charge of prosecuting criminal cases in the county for the next six months.

“We have been working to try and set the office up to be prepared for an interim situation to make that transition as easy as possible,” said Mastroianni.

Mastroianni will remain the District Attorney until he is officially sworn in as a federal judge. The Governor can’t appoint a new D.A. until Mastroianni is sworn in.  In November, voters will elect a new Hampden County District Attorney.

Senator Elizabeth Warren also sent 22News this statement: “Mark Mastroianni is a true son of Western Massachusetts who brings impressive credentials and diverse experience to the federal bench. I am proud to have recommended his nomination to President Obama, and am very pleased the Senate has voted to confirm him.  I have no doubt that he will have a long and distinguished career as a member of the judiciary.”

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