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J. Kevin Mulroy, 53, colorful, contentious N.Y. judge

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- J. Kevin Mulroy, known as a straight-talking, gun-toting judge before he was removed from the bench for misconduct, has died, his family said. He was 53.

Mr. Mulroy had arranged for an autopsy on himself so his unknown illness could be identified for his family, said his sister, Martha Mulroy, an Onondaga County legislator.

Mr. Mulroy was first stricken about four months ago, she said. The disease progressed from his immune system and eventually crippled his ability to breathe. He died early Tuesday at home.

Mr. Mulroy became one of the state's best-known judges for both for his political lineage -- his father, John Mulroy, was the nation's longest-serving county executive when he retired from office -- and his reputation for speaking his mind.

When first elected to the bench in 1987 at age 35, Mr. Mulroy was the youngest county court judge in the state.

Mr. Mulroy easily won a second term in 1996, but was removed from the bench in April 2000 after he used racial and ethnic slurs in the court, and in conversations outside the courtroom.

Mr. Mulroy said he began carrying a 9mm semiautomatic gun under his robe in the 1987 trial of William Blake, who was convicted of killing a sheriff's deputy and wounding another in an unsuccessful escape attempt. On the last day of his trial, Blake broke free from deputies and attacked the prosecutor.

Mr. Mulroy was later reprimanded by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct for comments he made to Blake that ''about six bucks of electricity would solve the problem" and for chastising the governor at the time, Mario M. Cuomo, for his opposition to the death penalty.

In 1992, Mr. Mulroy drew the ire of women's groups during a sex-abuse trial, when he described the accuser as ''the kind that work 'em into a frenzy, and then cut 'em off and watch 'em squirm."

Funeral arrangements were incomplete, because the family was awaiting the return of Mulroy's two daughters from college in Vermont and Massachusetts, Mulroy's sister said.

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