Judge Centra will share his wealth of experience with the firm, particularly in the areas of plaintiff personal injury and insurance coverage litigation. With an impeccable reputation for resolving difficult litigation questions and driving reasonable compromises while maintaining collegiality, he will also commence a mediation/ dispute resolution practice for a wide range of civil disputes.
Judge Centra is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo and received his Juris Doctor degree from Ohio Northern Law School. Following his admission to the Bar in 1984, he served as an Assistant District Attorney for Onondaga County in the felony trial and DWI units. In 1989, he entered the private practice of law from 1989 to 1999. In both public service and private practice, he was highly regarded as a tenacious litigator.
In 1988, he began his judicial career as the Town of Dewitt judge, before becoming an Onondaga County Supreme Court Judge in 1999. After presiding over every stage of civil litigation for seven years, Governor George Pataki designated him to serve as a Justice on the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, to which he was reelected in 2013. On the Appellate Division, Judge Centra presided over more than 10,000 appeals and more than 50,000 motions.
Judge Centra’s judicial career was exceptionally distinguished. In 2018, Judge Centra received the Ruger Award from the Onondaga County Bar Association, given to judicial officers who demonstrate singularly outstanding achievement in devotion to the principles of our system of justice. Since its 1975 inception, only a 10 people have been honored with the Ruger Award, named after the first president of the Onondaga County Bar Association, William C. Ruger, who later became Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals. Judge Centra was one of a handful of Appellate Division Justices asked by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals to sit on the highest Court in the State to hear a case, one of the highest honors an appellate justice can receive.
Judge Centra resides in Fayetteville with his wife Mindy. He is the proud father of four adult children and grandfather of two grandchildren. His son, John A. Centra, and nephew, Joseph J. Centra, are also local attorneys.