Mayor de Blasio Appoints New Judges To Family, Criminal And Civil Courts From Harlem To Hollis

Mayor de Blasio has made 28 judicial appointments and reappointments for the New Year, including one appointment and four reappointments to Family Court.

That Family Court includes six appointments and ten reappointments to Criminal Court; and three appointments and four reappointments to Civil Court.Judges appointed or reappointed to Civil Court sit in either Family or Criminal Court. The appointments were effective January 1.

“These appointees will represent New Yorkers proudly and work tirelessly to provide oversight of our courts,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Their work is essential in ensuring that we are creating a fairer city for all.”

Family, Criminal and Civil Court are part of the New York State Unified Court System. Family Court judges hear cases related to adoption, foster care and guardianship, custody and visitation, domestic violence, abused or neglected children, and juvenile delinquency. The City’s Criminal Court handles misdemeanor cases and lesser offenses, and conducts arraignments. Two of the three judges newly appointed to Civil Court will sit in Criminal Court, one will sit in Family Court.

The Mayor appointed the following judge to Family Court:

Judge Linda Capitti was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2019 and has been serving in Family Court. Prior to her appointment, Judge Capitti served with the New York State Unified Court System as a Principal Court Attorney in the Integrated Domestic Violence Court for 12 years. Prior to that, she served as a Staff Attorney in the New York City Administration for Children’s Services. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and received her law degree from New York Law School.

The Mayor appointed the following judges to Criminal Court:

Judge Michael Gaffey was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2019 and has been serving in Criminal Court. Prior to his appointment, he was a criminal law practitioner for 32 years and most recently served as Supervising Attorney and Deputy Director at Queens Law Associates. Before that, he was a Staff Attorney at The Legal Aid Society and had his own practice. He is a graduate of Adelphi University and received his law degree from Hofstra University School of Law.

Judge Wanda (Wendy) Licitra was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2019 and has been serving in Criminal Court. Prior to her appointment, she practiced criminal law for nearly 33 years and most recently served as an Arraignments Supervisor at Queens Law Associates. Before that, she served as a Staff Attorney in The Legal Aid Society in both Kings and Bronx counties. She is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and received her law degree from Hofstra University School of Law.

Judge Archana Rao was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2019 and has been serving in Criminal Court. Prior to her appointment, she served with the New York County District Attorney’s Office for 17 years, most recently as the Bureau Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau. She is a graduate of Vassar College and received her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.

Judge Audrey Stone was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2019 and has been serving in Criminal Court. Prior to her appointment, she most recently served with the New York State Unified Court System as the Chief Counsel on Family Violence cases for the Office of Policy and Planning. She also served in the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Division and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office. Judge Stone is a graduate of Brown University and received her J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Judge Jonathan Svetkey was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2019 and has been serving in Criminal Court. Judge Svetkey most recently served with the New York State Unified Court System as an Associate Court Attorney in Criminal Court, New York County. Prior to this, Judge Svetkey served as a prosecutor with the Kings and Bronx County District Attorney’s Office before establishing a partnership specializing in criminal defense, immigration and personal injury. He is a graduate of the University of Rochester and received his J.D. from Catholic University School of Law.

Judge Kerry Ward was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2019 and has been serving in Criminal Court. Prior to her appointment, she served with the New York State Unified Court System as Chief of Staff in the Office of Policy and Planning. Judge Ward had also served as a Principal Law Clerk and Principal Court Attorney in Supreme Court Criminal and Civil Terms. She is a graduate of Pace University and received her law degree from Syracuse University College of Law.

The Mayor appointed the following judges to Civil Court:

Judge Ashley B. Black started her legal career with the New York City Administration for Children’s Services as an Agency Attorney before joining the New York State Unified Court System, first as a Court Attorney, then as a Court Attorney Referee in Family Court. She received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Judge Black is appointed to Civil Court and will be assigned to Family Court.

Judge Paul McDonnell has been serving with the New York State Unified Court System since 1983 in various capacities, most recently as Deputy Counsel of Criminal Justice at the Office of Court Administration. Prior to that, he served as a Principal Court Attorney in Supreme Court, Criminal Term in both New York and Bronx counties. He received his undergraduate degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and his J.D. from Washington & Lee Law School. Judge McDonnell is appointed to Civil Court and will be assigned to Criminal Court.

Judge Jean T. Walsh spent most of her 37 year legal career in public service. She started at the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office where she served in various bureaus for fourteen years before joining the United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York and then the New York State Office of the Inspector General. Most recently she returned to serve as the Executive Assistant District Attorney and Chief of the Investigations Division in the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office. She received her undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College and her J.D. from SUNY Buffalo Law School. Judge Walsh is appointed to Civil Court and will be assigned to Criminal Court.

The Mayor reappointed the following judges to Family Court:

Judge Sarah Cooper was appointed as a Family Court Judge in January 2012. Prior to her appointment, she practiced in Family Court for 15 years, having worked for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services and as a Court Attorney Referee. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Binghamton and received her law degree from Cardozo School of Law.

Judge Alicea Elloras-Ally was appointed as a Family Court Judge in April 2015. Prior to her appointment, Judge Elloras-Ally was a Staff Attorney with the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, served as a Court Attorney in Family Court as well as a Law Clerk in Supreme Court, Criminal Term. She most recently served as a Support Magistrate in Family Court for six years. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received her law degree from Penn State University, Dickinson School of Law.

Judge Lisa J. Friederwitzer was appointed as a Family Court Judge in February 2018. Prior to her appointment, she served as a Court Attorney Referee in Supreme Court, Queens County after serving as a Support Magistrate in both Queens and Manhattan Family Courts. Judge Friederwitzer graduated from Queens College and received her law degree from Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center.

Judge Jane Pearl was first appointed to the Family Court in February 2000. Judge Pearl previously served as a Court Attorney Referee in New York County Family Court. She received her undergraduate degree from George Washington University, her master’s degree and Ph.D from Northwestern University, and her law degree from The Benjamin Cardozo School of Law.

The Mayor reappointed the following judges to Criminal Court:

Judge Abena Darkeh was appointed to the Criminal Court in February 2015. Prior to her appointment, Judge Darkeh served with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and with the New York State Office of Court Administration as a Court Attorney/Citywide Domestic Violence Coordinator for New York City Criminal Court and as Assistant Deputy Counsel in the Office of Policy and Planning. She also served as the Deputy Commissioner for Regional Affairs and Federal Programs for the New York State Division of Human Rights. Judge Darkeh is a graduate of Georgetown University and received her J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law.

Judge Curtis J. Farber, an Acting Supreme Court Justice, was appointed as a Criminal Court Judge in December 2012. He was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in July 2012 and served in Criminal Court. Judge Farber served with the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office and was a solo criminal defense practitioner for 20 years. He received his undergraduate degree from George Washington University and his law degree from Boston University School of Law.

Judge William Garnett, an Acting Supreme Court Justice, has been a Criminal Court Judge since August 1991. Prior to his appointment, he served with the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office where he last served as Supreme Court Bureau Chief, as well as the Kings County District Attorney’s Office where he last served as Senior Trial Assistant of the Homicide Bureau. Judge Garnett graduated from Fordham University, received his law degree from Brooklyn Law School, and his L.L.M. from New York University School of Law.

Judge John T. Hecht, an Acting Supreme Court Justice, was appointed as a Criminal Court Judge in September 2011. He was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2011 and served in Criminal Court. Prior to his appointment, he served as a Principal Court Attorney in Supreme Court, was a Supervising Attorney for the Legal Aid Society, and was a litigation associate for private firms. Judge Hecht graduated from Yale College and received his law degree from Boston University School of Law

Judge Salvatore J. Modica, an Acting Supreme Court Justice, was first appointed to the Criminal Court in December 2001. Prior to his appointment, he served as an Assistant District Attorney in Queens and as a Principal Court Attorney in Supreme Court, Bronx County. Judge Modica graduated from the University of Arizona and received his law degree from St. John’s University School of Law.

Judge Edwin Novillo was appointed to the Criminal Court in January 2019. He was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in February 2018 and served in Criminal Court. Prior to his appointment, Judge Novillo served with the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Practice for 14 years, most recently as a Senior Staff Attorney in Queens County. He graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and received his law degree from Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center.

Judge Kim Petersen was appointed to the Criminal Court in December 2016. Prior to her appointment, Judge Petersen served with the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office as Bureau Chief of Criminal Court and served with the Queens County District Attorney’s Office. She was also a Principal Court Attorney in the Appellate Division, First Department, Departmental Disciplinary Committee, as well as, in Supreme Court, Criminal Term, Queens County. She is a graduate of Queens College and received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.

Judge Raymond Rodriguez was appointed to the Criminal Court in December 2013. He was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2013. Prior to his appointment, Judge Rodriguez served with the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office and was a solo practitioner for almost nine years specializing in criminal defense, family law, and civil litigation. He received his undergraduate degree from St. John’s University and his law degree from Widener University School of Law

Judge Elizabeth N. Warin was appointed to the Criminal Court bench in December 2015. Prior to her appointment, she served as a Law Clerk with the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, then served with The Legal Aid Society and was Of Counsel to two firms specializing in criminal defense. Judge Warin received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and her law degree from New York University School of Law.

Judge Stephanie Zaro, an Acting Supreme Court Justice, was appointed to the Criminal Court in February 2008. She began her career by serving in the Inspector General’s Office of the New York City Department of Finance and then served with the Queens County District Attorney’s Office. Judge Zaro was also a solo criminal defense practitioner for nearly 20 years prior to her appointment. She is a graduate of John Jay University and received her law degree from Cardozo School of Law.

The Mayor reappointed the following judges to Civil Court:

Judge Deepa Ambekar was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in May 2018 and has been serving in Criminal Court. Prior to her appointment, she served with the New York City Council as a Senior Legislative Attorney and Counsel to the Committee on Public Safety. Judge Ambekar also served as a Staff Attorney with the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Division. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received her J.D. from Rutgers Law School.

Judge Quynda L. Santacroce was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2019 and has been serving in Criminal Court. Prior to her appointment, she served with the New York State Unified Court System as a Principal Court Attorney in Criminal Court, Queens County in the Integrated Domestic Violence Part/Queens Youth Part, and also served with the Queens County District Attorney’s Office in several bureaus. Judge Santacroce is a graduate of Cornell University and received her J.D. from Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center.

Judge Jonathan H. Shim was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in February 2018 and has been serving in Family Court. Prior to his appointment, Judge Shim worked as an associate at several firms before starting his own practice in family and matrimonial law, which he maintained for nine and a half years. He is a graduate of SUNY at Albany and received his J.D. from Albany Law School.

Judge Jay L. Weiner was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in April 2019 and has been serving in Criminal Court. Prior to his appointment, he served with the New York State Unified Court System as a Principal Law Clerk in the Appellate Division, Second Department. Judge Weiner also worked with Appellate Advocates, and served as an Assistant District Attorney in both Queens and Kings Counties. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and received his law degree from Fordham University School of Law.

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