Mayor of Blasio appoints 12 judges

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23 December 2021

New York– Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced 1 family court appointment, 4 criminal court appointments and 7 civil court appointments.

“These judges have shown their commitment and keenness in handling some of the most difficult cases our city has ever seen. I am proud to name those individuals who have fought for justice and fairness at every stage of their careers, ”said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I have no doubt that they will continue to do what they have always done: devote their careers to making our city, state and nation more just and equal.”

Family, criminal and civil courts are part of New York State’s 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 deals with misdemeanor cases and minor offenses and carries out arrests. One of the newly appointed civil court judges will preside over the family court. Six newly appointed civil court judges are expected to preside over the criminal court.

The mayor appointed the following judge to the Family Court:

Judge Jonathan H. Shim was first appointed Acting Civil Court Judge in February 2018 and served in Family Court. Judge Shim began his legal career as a partner in several law firms and began his own practice in family and marriage law which he practiced for nine and a half years before his appointment to the bench. He graduated from SUNY in Albany and received his law degree from Albany Law School.

The mayor appointed the following judges to the criminal court:

Judge Giyang An formerly served with the Bronx County Attorney’s Office in the Criminal Court, Admissions and Narcotics Offices, and the Trial Office’s Firearms Preparation Unit. She most recently served as Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Attorney General’s Office in the Misdemeanor Section of the Claims Office, Division of State Council. She also teaches as an adjunct professor of law, lawyer and legal drafting at the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School of Yeshiva University. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine and received her JD from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

Judge Carolina Holderness began her legal career as legal assistant to the Honorable Lawrence M. McKenna at the US District Court, Southern District of New York. She then joined the New York County Attorney’s Office and held various positions over the past 14 years, including as Criminal Court Supervisor, Head of the Bureau’s Human Trafficking Response Unit. Special Victims Assistance Office and, more recently, prior to his appointment, as Deputy Head of the Special Victims Assistance Office. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received her Juris Doctorate from Columbia Law School. Ms Holderness’s appointment will be effective at the end of this month.

Judge Biju J. Koshy formerly served with the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office in Criminal Court and General Crime Bureaus. He then worked in the Richmond County Attorney’s Office as a supervisor, then deputy head of the criminal court office before joining the New York State Unified Court System as a senior prosecutor to a judge in the criminal court. He later opened his own practice in Richmond County, dealing with felony and misdemeanor cases, as well as forensic assessor and appointed attorney for trusteeship cases before the Supreme Court. He graduated from Pace University and received his JD from Seton Hall Law School.

Judge Melissa T. Lewis began her legal career in the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, where she served for 14 years in the District Misdemeanor Court Office, County Crime Court Office, and Major Offenses Office. She last served as deputy bureau chief of the county court criminal trial bureau and director of recruiting. Prior to her judicial appointment, she served in the New York State Unified Judiciary as Deputy Chief of Staff to former Associate Chief Administrative Justice George J. Silver. She graduated from the University of St. John’s and received her law degree from New York Law School.

The mayor appointed the following judges to the civil court:

Judge Anthony M. Battisti was a former Queens County Deputy District Attorney for four years assigned to Admissions, Criminal Court, Grand Jury and Supreme Court offices. He later engaged in a law firm and soon after opened his own practice. He was a private practitioner in Queens for over 27 years specializing in criminal defense. Justice Battisti holds an undergraduate degree and a law degree from St. John’s University. Judge Battisti is appointed to the Civil Court and is expected to be assigned to the Criminal Court.

Judge Diego A. Freire previously he worked for the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Practice in Queens County for 14 years. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he was until recently Senior Counsel and Youth Intervention and Diversion Counsel. Justice Freire is a graduate of Queens College and obtained his law degree from Temple University, Beasley School of Law. Judge Freire is appointed to the civil court and is expected to be assigned to the criminal court.

Judge Simiyon S. Haniff began his legal career in the Queens County Attorney’s Office working in the Admissions, Domestic Violence, Appeals and Trial Offices. After two partnerships, he opened his own practice which he maintained for seven and a half years. He returned to the Queens County District Attorney’s Office as the supervising prosecutor for the AP-2 part of the Criminal Court office. He is a graduate of St. John’s University and Brooklyn Law School. Judge Haniff is appointed to the civil court and is expected to be assigned to the criminal court.

Judge Marty J. Lentz was a former paralegal at the District of Columbia Superior Court in Washington, DC She then worked for the Legal Aid Society for the past 18 years as an assigned lawyer at the Brooklyn Criminal Defense Practice, Misdemeanor Brooklyn Treatment Court, and more recently at the Red Hook Community Justice Center. She graduated from Loyola University in Chicago and received her JD from the University of Michigan Law School. Judge Lentz is appointed to the civil court and is expected to be assigned to the criminal court.

Judge Srividya Pappachan began her legal career as a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Practice, where she remained for over nine years. She then became a prosecutor to the Honorable Josh E. Hanshaft, New York County Criminal Court and briefly, Kings County Family Court. Justice Pappachan is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts – Amherst and obtained her law degree from Hofstra University Law School. Judge Pappachan is appointed to the civil court and is expected to be assigned to the criminal court.

Judge Rachel S. Pauley was a former Kings County Deputy District Attorney and Senior Supreme Court Prosecutor, Criminal Period. She also served in the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the New York State Inspector General’s Office. Most recently, she was Director of Government Programs, Social Justice Initiatives, and Law Teacher at Columbia Law School. She holds a dual BA and MA from Barnard College and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a JD from Fordham University School of Law. Justice Pauley is appointed to the civil court and is expected to be assigned to the criminal court.

Judge Stéphanie Schwartz began his legal career with the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Practice and then worked with the New York City Administration for Children’s Services in New York and Bronx counties for over nine years. Prior to her judicial appointment, she served as an adjudicator in New York County Family Court for five years. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and received her law degree from CUNY School of Law. Justice Schwartz is appointed to civil court and will be assigned to family court.


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