Judge Scott B. Ugell was first elected in 1991 as the youngest Town Justice to ever be elected in the Town of Clarkstown Justice Court history. Judge Ugell’s first term began on November 9, 1991, after winning the 1991 election to replace a Town Justice who had resigned and left a vacancy in the Town Justice Court. Judge Ugell was appointed forthwith by a unanimous bipartisan vote of the Clarkstown Town Board.
Judge Ugell has since been reelected in 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013, and including 2017, when Judge Ugell had the support of every political party at the time, Republican, Democratic, Conservative, Working Families, Independence, Green, and Women’s Equality Parties.
Judge Ugell will celebrate 30 years as Clarkstown Town Justice November 2021, and is the longest serving consecutive-term Town Justice in Clarkstown’s 235 year history.
Judge Ugell was born at Maimonides Hospital in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, NY. He is the youngest child of three siblings. His father, Jack Ugell, was a post-Ottoman British mandate and a Jerusalem born immigrant who came to the United States in 1930. Judge Ugell’s mother, Shirley Lavitt Ugell, was conceived in Likava, Ukraine, but born in Brooklyn, New York.
Jack Ugell was an AFL-CIO union wall paper hanger at local 409, located on 14th Street in NYC, now part of District Council 9, where Jack was a union leader for 25 years. Jack also had the honor of serving in World War II as an Army soldier fighting hand to hand combat, first liberating Papua, New Guinea, and then later the Philippines. Shirley Lavitt Ugell worked in the home raising three children as a Domestic Goddess, until the mid-1970’s when she found work as a bookkeeper.
When Judge Ugell was five years old the family moved to Merrick, Long island, New York, where he attended Lakeside Elementary School, Brookside Junior High School, and John F. Kennedy High School located in Bellmore, New York. Judge Ugell graduated from Syracuse University S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, with a Bachelor of Science in 1982, and went on to receive a Juris Doctor degree from Hofstra University School of Law in 1985.
After graduating from Hofstra University School of Law, Judge Ugell served as a Deputy Town Attorney in the Town of Hempstead, the most densely populated township in the United States of America. Thereafter, Judge Ugell was appointed as a Civil Court Arbitrator in the New York City Civil Courts and was later hired as Assistant General Counsel to Pyramid Companies, a shopping mall development and management company based in Syracuse, NY.
While handling the conventional case load and calendars, Judge Ugell served alongside Family Court Judges, and other local judges and staff members. He was a panel member of a special Domestic Violence Court, a special county committee on Domestic violence which studied ways to improve the court systems for those involved in domestic violence matters.
When Judge Ugell was first elected in 1991, the justice court at the time was located in Clarkstown Town Hall. Years prior to Judge Ugell’s election, it had been determined that the court facilities in Clarkstown Town Hall were outdated and that it was unsafe to house such a court. The town had purchased the site adjacent to the Town Hall and built a modern complex with the Police Station occupying the ground and lower levels, and the Justice Court on the second floor. This new Justice Center was completed and opened in 1993.
Clarkstown Justice Court has been a leader in introducing progressive and innovative programs in the court systems which address the changing needs of society. Clarkstown was one of the first courts in the United States to experiment with drug courts. These drug courts have since proven to be a successful and valuable strategy in fighting alcohol and drug abuse. This strategy often includes addressing mental issues, reducing recidivism, and moving away from incarceration for those who have committed some types of non-violent crimes. The Rockland County District Attorney’s office and its courts offer a wide variety of drug, alcohol, and mental illness diversion programs.
Judge Ugell has continuously worked to improve the quality and tenor of the Clarkstown Justice court. During his first term in office, Judge Ugell, worked alongside Clarkstown Justice Court Judge Victor J. Alfieri, Jr., who later became a Rockland County Judge as well as Acting State Supreme Court Justice. Both Judge Ugell and Judge Victor J. Alfieri, Jr. lobbied the New York State legislature through the auspices of the New York State Magistrates Association to increase the monetary award amount a litigant can seek in damages in the small claims and civil court parts. Judge Ugell is currently in the process of working with the New York State Magistrates Association to further increase the amount of monetary damages that can be sought through small claims and civil parts.
With the assistance of the office of Court Administration and with the advice and consent of his co-judges, Judge Ugell created and implemented a court security protocol in 2012 after 14 years of urging the town board administrators to create a system which would prevent weapons and other dangerous items from entering the court rooms, or waiting and vestibule areas.
Judge Ugell, with the support of the other Town Justices presiding in 2012, encouraged the Town of Clarkstown to hire part-time court security officers. With the assistance of then New York State Senator, Thomas P. Morahan, the Town of Clarkstown received a grant which provided the Courthouse with metal detectors and security officers with individual magnetometers.
Judge Ugell is admitted to practice law in the State of New York, the Southern and Eastern Districts of the New York Federal Courts. The United States Bankruptcy Court, the United States District Courts, and the United States Supreme Court.
Judge Ugell currently practices law in New City, New York where he focuses on family and matrimonial law, foreclosure defense, loan modification, bankruptcy law, debtor and creditor rights, municipal law, general and construction litigation, and land use and real estate law and development.
Judge Ugell has a strong belief in, and drive to, help his community. As such, he is involved in many charitable and social organizations. He is a former chairman and current board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rockland, Inc., a former board member of the JCC-Y, and a board member of Rockland County Community College Hillel. He is also a Meals on Wheels volunteer, a member of the New City Chamber of Commerce, a member of the New City Jewish Center, and a strong supporter of United Hospice of Rockland, Good Counsel, and many other worthy charitable organizations.
Judge Ugell is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Rockland County Bar Association, the Westchester Bar Association, and the Rockland County Magistrates Association, where he is a former chairman, as well as a former co-chair of the Rockland County Bar Association Bankruptcy committee.
Judge Ugell lives in New City, NY with his wife, Evelyn Salazar Ugell, who will be receiving her MBA 2021. He is also the proud father of his daughters Rebecca Ugell, 2017 Graduate of the University of Delaware, and Sari Ugell Schwartz, L.P.N. , father-in-law to her husband Dr. Ziv Schwartz, M.D., and a loving grandpa to their two daughters, Bella Yael and Talia Shoshana. Judge Ugell is also proud of his sons by marriage, Tyler Morales, Austin Morales, and Andrew Morales, his wife Jelmy and their daughter, Mia Bertha.
During Judge Ugell’s free time his favorite thing to do is to spend time with his children and grandchildren. He also enjoys living life to the fullest by using his free time to travel the world with his beautiful, intelligent wife Evelyn and learn about the history and experience that other countries have to offer. Judge Ugell finds deep fulfillment in using the facts and history from other countries and applying them to his law practice to further his work and help others in creative and innovative ways.