A New York Judge suffered a heart attack in the courtroom and died at the hospital. Putman County Court Judge James Reitz was struck by a heart attack while performing his duties Friday morning, a spokesman for the state court system said.
Mary Ellen Odell, executive of Putnam County, told the New York Law Journal that Reitz completed a case and then asked for help. “He said: ‘John, I think I need you to help me,'” Odell said. Court officials immediately performed CPR and used an automatic electronic defibrillator to try to save Reitz’s life until an ambulance arrived.
Reitz, who lived in Mahopac, had been a county judge since 2007 and was also an interim judge in the state Supreme Court. Before that, he was a lawyer in private practice. It is not clear if he had previous or ongoing health problems. The judge died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
State Senator Terrence Murphy expressed his condolences in a Facebook post, praising Reitz for his drug court program and calling him “the best public servant.”
Odell echoed the comments of the state senator and said in a statement that Reitz was an “open advocate of recovery from addiction and a second chance.”
“That’s why he pioneered his beloved Drug Treatment Court,” he said, adding that “the program was instrumental in saving countless lives and families in Putnam County.”
The judge’s death echoes a similar incident in the UK. A veteran comedian in the United Kingdom died suddenly in the middle of his act this week, and his absorbed audience thought that everything was a joke, according to a new report. Ian Cognito, 60, whose real name was Paul Barbieri, showed up at the Atic bar in Bicester on Thursday night as he sat on a stool, began to breathe heavily and then fell silent for five minutes.
He was pronounced dead at the scene, the South Central Ambulance Service confirmed upon departure. Meanwhile, the audience thought that Cognito was simply acting and had no idea that something was wrong, said Andrew Bird, who runs the Lone Wolf Comedy Club event at the site, to the BBC.