ROXBURY, NJ - Musician Brendan Buckley and retired New York State Appellate Division Associate Justice Thomas Mercure will be honored Oct.12 by the Roxbury school board as "distinguished alumni" of Roxbury High School.
The induction ceremony, the board's third, will take place at the annual fall Roxbury High School Academic Awards, scheduled for 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. The distinguished alumi award "was established to honor alumni who have typified the Roxbury School District tradition of excellence and brought honor to the community by their personal accomplishment, professional achievement, or humanitarian service," said the school district.
Buckley graduated in 1992 and Mercure graduated in 1961.
Buckley was born in Morristown and attended Mt. Arlington Public Schools before moving to Roxbury High School. At 18, he moved to Miami, FL to attend the University of Miami’s School of Music, said the school district. "While there, he became immersed in the city’s diverse rock, Latin, and jazz scenes," it said. "At the time of graduation, he released an album and toured with the BMG recording rock band Fulano De Tal and the following year played drums with Julio Iglesias for his “Tango” tour."
According to the district, Buckley then recorded an album for Colombian pop star Shakira. He subsequently made four more albums and played on three three tours with Shakira. He also recorded with DMX, Lauryn Hill, Gloria Estefan, Spam All-Stars, Nil Lara, Mariana Ochoa, Julio Iglesias Jr, Alejandra Guzmán, Alih Jey, Zach Zisken, The Kind, Popvert, Clambake 2000, Monte Rosa, B.D. Lenz, Diane Ward, Raw B. Jae, Sixo, Pedro Suarez Vertiz, Soledad, Natalia Oriero, Fernando Osorio, Alicastro, Leo Quintero, Gayle Ritt, Pete Masitti, Shalim and Maria Bestár.
In 2004, Buckley moved to Los Angeles. There he joined the experimental rock band Pedestrian. He also began touring with the actress Minnie Driver for her "Pocket" tour and continued his work both in the studio and live with Shakira, Popvert, and the Spam All-Stars while also producing records for Fulano (Grammy-nominated), Volumen Cero and The Kind.
From 2007 to 2013, "the list of collaboration and musical accomplishments become too numerous to mention, but include the Irish folk-rock artist Damien Rice for his "9 Crimes" world tour," said the district. This was followed by tours with Broadway star Idina Menzel, songsmith Daniel Powter, as well as Miley Cyrus, Melissa Ethridge and Brazilian star Roberto Carlos.
"For those of you who have experienced the power of the Roxbury Performing Arts program, now you can see where it can lead," said the school district.
Mercure retired from the bench in 2014 after serving for more than 25 years in the Appellate Division. During his career, he he heard more than 21,000 appeals, wrote more than 3,000 signed opinions and became the longest-serving Justice in the 118-year history of the court, said the school district.
Mercure’s major opinions are too numerous to mention and include groundbreaking decision on Constitutional issues of church and state, workers compensation, tribal gaming compacts, patient rights and civil law. His mother lived next door to Roxbury High School until her death a few years ago.
Mercure began his law career in 1969 and entered public service in 1973 as an assistant district attorney in New York His career as a judge began in 1981 when he was elected as the youngest Washington County judge.
"His tenure as a jurist continued for the next 33 years, during which time he was elected to three terms on the state Supreme Court, was appointed to the Appellate Division, Third Department, and served as Administrative Judge of the Third Judicial District, overseeing courts, judges and court system employees in seven counties," said the district. Mercure served as acting presiding justice in 2011 and 2012.
Mercure graduated from Michael’s College, VT as a Bachelor of Arts cum Laude and the George Washington University Law Center in 1968. He has bar admissions to New York State, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York and the U.S. Supreme Court. He sat on the New York State Court of Appeals twice in 1994 and 2011 for two cases, including one related to the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, said the district.
Mercure has received many professional recognitions and honors, including the Unified Court System’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Capital District Trial Lawyers Association Edward S. Conway Judicial Excellence Award, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association Felix J. Aulisi Award, the Greater Capital District Italian-American Bar Association Anthony V. Cardona Award for commitment to the legal community and the Sept. 14, 2014 dedication of the Washington County Courthouse as The Hon. Thomas E. Mercure Washington County Courthouse.