Justice Henry L. Ughetta was born on September 20, 1902 in Brooklyn. He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Fordham Law School and was later awarded honorary degrees from Brooklyn Law School and St. John’s University Law School. Ughetta was admitted to the bar in 1923 and practiced law until 1942. He served as chairman of the Brooklyn Draft Appeals Board and worked on the campaigns of William O’Dwyer for mayor and Franklin D. Roosevelt for president. Although his name was suggested for the positions of lieutenant governor in 1953 and mayor in 1954, he preferred the bench.
Ughetta first joined the bench in 1942, when he became the first person of Italian descent to be elected to the State Supreme Court for the Second Judicial District. He was several times assigned to special terms, such as when he was appointed by Gov. Thomas E. Dewey to investigate corruption in Columbia County during the years 1952 to1955. Justice Ughetta was designated to the Appellate Division, Second Department by Gov. W. Averell Harriman in 1955, and he was re-designated in 1957, 1962 and 1967. In 1960, he ran unsuccessfully for the New York Court of Appeals.
Justice Ughetta also served as chairman of the State Constitutional Convention’s Committee on the Judiciary, chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Court Reorganization, and chairman and president of the Brooklyn Law School board of trustees. He also served as director and president of the Brooklyn Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, president of the Italian Board of Guardians, and director of the Brooklyn Baseball Club.
He was married to Phyllis A. Astee and had a son. He died on September 16, 1967 at his home in Skyland, Buck Hill Falls, Pennsylvania.
“Governor Names Appellate Judges.” New York Times 28 Dec. 1966: 41. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008). Web. 9 Aug. 2012.
Hanmer, Wendell. “Judge Saves City Millions in Housing Condemnations.” Brooklyn Eagle 30 Apr. 1950: 2. Web. 9 Aug. 2012. http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html
“Henry L. Ughetta, Justice, 68, Dead.” New York Times 17 Sep 1967: 84. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008). Web. 9 Aug. 2012.
“Meet Your Candidates: The Court of Appeals.” Long Island Star-Journal 31 Oct. 1960: 4. Web. 9 Aug. 2012. http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html