In the race for Long Beach City Court judge, Republican-backed challenger Ted Hommel is looking to unseat incumbent Judge Roy Tepper — a Democrat who has held his seat for nearly 30 years — and win a 10-year term on Nov. 5.
Tepper, one of two judges in the city, is a lifelong Long Beach resident and a former lifeguard captain who has served the city for nearly 35 years, first as a city councilman and a two-term council president. For the past 27 years, Tepper has been a full-time City Court judge, handling arraignments, misdemeanor criminal cases and felony hearings as well as civil cases such as contract disputes, and real estate and zoning matters.
A graduate of Long Beach High, Tepper earned an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School, and had a private law practice until he was appointed judge in 1987. Hommel, Tepper said, lacks experience, adding that he has overseen some 100 criminal trials over his career.
“I became a judge in 1987, there was a vacancy here and Governor Mario Cuomo appointed me,” said Tepper, 69. “I’ve been re-elected multiple times since then. The job is 75 percent criminal in nature, and Hommel has very little criminal experience. If the judge doesn’t know much about criminal law, it could open up a can of worms — you really have to know what you’re doing.”
Hommel, 61, strongly disagreed, noting that he was recently found “well qualified” by the Nassau County Bar Association’s Judicial Screening Committee. A graduate of Long Beach High, Oberlin College and Fordham University’s School of Law, Hommel said that he has more than 35 years of legal experience. A lifelong Long Beach resident as well, he has been a deputy Nassau County attorney, assistant corporation counsel in Long Beach and an attorney in private practice with experience in criminal, real estate, labor and corporate law. He has also handled vehicle and traffic law, city code enforcement prosecutions, contracts and lease agreements and other municipal-law cases.