Democrats nominate 12 candidates for Brooklyn Supreme Court justice; The revolutionary slate reflects the diversity of the borough


The president of the Brooklyn Democratic Party meets with candidates for the bench. (Left to right. Top row: Patria Frias-Colón, Aaron D. Maslow, Richard Velasquez, Craig S. Walker, Ellen Spodek, Anne J. Swern. Bottom row: Dywenie E. Paul, Cheryl Gonzales, Cenceria P Edwards, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Lorna J. McAllister, Susan Quirk)

The Kings County Democratic Party Judicial Convention, chaired by Assemblyman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, met successfully Thursday evening to officially nominate twelve candidates to run to the party line in the election of 2022 to justice in the New York State Supreme Court.

The court convention, which took place at the Marine Park Golf Course in South Brooklyn, was a success as delegates civically engaged in a fair and transparent process.

The convention followed Tuesday’s executive committee meeting, where district leaders met and approved the party slate. Among those present at the executive committee meeting were Henry Butler, the vice chairman of the Brooklyn Democratic Party; Law Party chairman Anthony Genovesi; MP Rob Robinson; party adviser Jeff Feldman; former party chairman Frank Seddio; and district leaders.

The Democratic candidates are: Patria Frias-Colón, Cenceria P. Edwards, Cheryl J. Gonzales, Lorna J. McAllister, Aaron D. Maslow, Dweynie E. Paul, Susan Quirk, Robin K. Sheares, Ellen M. Spodek, Anne J Swern, Richard Velasquez, and Craig S. Walker.

The list of twelve candidates for the bench will now appear in the November 2022 general election.

This is the most diverse list of judicial candidates to be nominated by the Party, with an unprecedented number of black women nominated.

“The year we saw the first black female justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ketanji Brown Jackson, the Democratic Party of Brooklyn is honored to break down barriers by sending six black women to the Supreme Court of the State of New York,” said Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte. Hermelyne said. “With a diverse slate of twelve highly qualified Democratic judicial candidates, Brooklyn has won a historic victory.”

Rodenyse Bichotte Hermelyn, President of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, celebrating.

The Democratic candidates also include groundbreaking “firsts”. Justice Dweynie E. Paul will become the first-ever Haitian-American NYS Supreme Court justice in Kings County when he is presumably elected.

“Dweynie E. Paul has never wavered from his commitment to community and the administration of fair and just justice,” said Bichotte Hermelyn. “Paul, New York State’s first Haitian American civil court judge, continues to break down barriers – we are honored to see the judge named for the first Haitian American on the New York State Supreme Court. “

Paul thanked “everyone who gave their time and energy to the process because of the importance of justice.”

Patria Frias-Colón is the first Dominican-born judge ever elected in Kings County history. Frias-Colón was recently appointed as a supervising judge in Queens County Civil Court. From 2020 to present, she has served in Kings County Civil Court.

“My immigrant background and my upbringing in Brooklyn shaped my legal philosophy,” said Frias Colon, who thanked the Party and pledged to fight for justice for all.

“Judge Frias-Colón began her career dedicated to public service in the courts and continues to administer fair and just justice decades later. We are honored to appoint this pioneering and capable judge,” said Bichotte Hermelyn.

“Justice Sheares has received several awards for her dedicated service to the community and is rightly known as the ‘community judge’. We are delighted to see Sheares continuing his service on the Supreme Court of the State of New York,” added Bichotte Hermelyn. Sheares proudly said that no matter what others may think or say where you are from or what school you attend, if you believe in it, you can achieve it, as evidenced by his win.

Jamaican-born Justice Lorna J. McAllister is “also another diverse and well-deserved addition to the Supreme Court bench,” said Bichotte Hermelyn. Justice McAllister’s judicial experience began in 2008 when she worked as senior court counsel for nominee Hon. Robin K. Sheares.

The Honorable Cenceria P. Edwards is currently appointed as an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Civil Service. “The Brooklyn Democratic Party is proud to nominate Edwards, a black female judge with distinguished legal and judicial experience,” Bichotte Hermelyn said.

“The Brooklyn Democratic Party also congratulates Judge Cheryl Gonzales on her well-deserved nomination,” Bichotte Hermelyn said. Cheryl Gonzales is currently a Supervising Judge of the New York City Housing Court of Kings County, serving since 2005 in that court.

Judge appointee Anne J. Swern, who currently sits in New York City Civil Court, previously served as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn for more than 35 years, appointed by four separately elected district attorneys.

Swern is also a professor at Brooklyn Law School, and Bichotte Hermelyn said that “as a student there, I witnessed her tenacity for fair justice and I am honored for her nomination,” said Bichotte Hermelyn. “The Brooklyn Democratic Party is proud to bring Justice Swerne’s impressive record and immensely diverse experience to the state’s highest court.”

“I am touched by the support of the party chairman, the vice chairman and all the members of the executive committee, who all endorsed me unanimously,” Judge Swern said.

Judge Swern speaking after being nominated.

Aaron D. Maslow is a member of the Orthodox Jewish community and has over 40 years of experience as a lawyer, including serving as an arbitrator for the past 20 years. He has practiced in the area of ​​electoral law, representing numerous candidates from a diverse political spectrum. His clients include retired state senator Velmanette Montgomery, current councilman Lincoln Restler, state senator Zellnor Myrie, congresswoman Helene Weinstein and Diana Richardson, and now congresswoman Grace Meng, to name a few. only a few. Mr. Maslow helped diversify the justice system by representing leading candidates: the first openly lesbian and gay male lawyers elected to judgeships in Brooklyn and the first Muslim lawyer elected to a judgeship in New York State. . Mr. Maslow has also spoken out against the harassment of women and LGBTQ+ colleagues. He has published articles in Kashrus Magazine, a publication focused on following kosher dietary practices.

“Aaron Maslow brings a wealth of legal experience to the Supreme Court bench. It is not only about his forty years of practice as a lawyer, but about his impeccable drafting skills demonstrated by the writing of 10,000 arbitration decisions,” said Bichotte Hermelyn. “Brooklyn is lucky to have her in our justice system.”

“Twelve years ago someone called me and said she was running for office and now she’s the president of the party,” Maslow said. “Thank you all for participating in the Democratic process – it works.”

Kings County Supreme Court Acting Judge Craig S. Walker is “a black veteran who has dedicated his life to serving our country and bringing justice to the people of Brooklyn,” said continued the county party chairman. “Recently, for the past four years, Walker has administered fair and just justice for minors in criminal court, and the Party congratulates his well-deserved nomination.”

“It’s been a long journey from a kid in Brooklyn to go to the Supreme Court,” said Justice Walker, who thanked the Party leadership and said, “it’s important that our justices reflect the diversity of the borough.”

Judge Susan Quirk is an elected Civil Court Judge in Kings County who currently sits in Family Court. Quirk, who began his public service career in 1998 as a paralegal for the Kings County Attorney’s Office, “has shown extreme tenacity for public service and fair administration of the law” , said Bichotte Hermelyn. “Justice Quirk is not only capable, but extremely involved in her community, and will be a perfect addition to the New York State Supreme Court bench.”

Democratic candidate Justice Susan Quirk and party chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Two of the nominees are Supreme Court incumbents who are running for another term: Hon. Richard Velasquez and the Hon. Ellen Spodek.

Outgoing Justice Richard Velasquez – who began serving on the Kings County (Civil) Supreme Court in 2009 – “has dedicated his life to public service and continually ensures that all who appear before him have fair and equitable access. justice system,” Rodneyse says Bichotte Hermelyn.

“I am truly honored to receive another judicial appointment and promise to maintain my unwavering support for justice,” Velasquez said.

The incumbent, Justice Ellen Spodek, was elected to the Supreme Court in 2009 and served as an acting administrative judge in 2020.

“Spodek has steadfastly administered justice in a fair and equitable manner for the people of Brooklyn for decades and the Brooklyn Democratic Party is proud to nominate her for re-election,” Bichotte Hermelyn said.

The Supreme Court has civil and criminal jurisdiction. The court handles civil matters at the trial level when the amount in dispute exceeds $50,000. Its criminal jurisdiction extends to trials where defendants are charged with crimes.

Delegates to the Judicial Convention.

“The nominees have a proven record of progressive judicial and judicial achievement and will continue to help bring fairness and impartiality to the courts. I am thrilled to see these groundbreaking appointments occur under my leadership, and I am confident that Brooklyn’s justice system will remain in extremely capable hands when the nominees are elected in November,” concluded Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn.


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