Appoints First Openly Transgender Male Judge in American History
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced 11 appointments and four reappointments to the New York State Court of Claims. This historic class of appointments is comprised of highly qualified individuals from a wide array of personal and professional backgrounds, including the first openly transgender appointee, to bring a diverse and expert perspective to the Court.
"I have full faith that this historic and outstanding group of appointees will serve New Yorkers with fairness and impartiality," Governor Hochul said. "With diverse perspectives and extensive expertise, I'm confident that each appointee will bring honor and integrity to New York State's judiciary."
The four reappointments include:
Maureen Heitner, Queens County
Maureen Heitner currently serves as Acting Justice of the New York State Supreme Court - Queens County. She was previously employed by the New York State Supreme Court in Queens County as a Principal Law Clerk / Court Clerk. Heitner is registered attorney in the State of New York.
Timothy Lewis, Bronx County
Timothy Lewis currently serves as Acting Justice of the New York State Supreme Court - Bronx County. Lewis is a Town Attorney of Greenburg, New York and was former Deputy Town Attorney in 2004. Lewis was in private practice from 1992 to 2004. He also worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Bronx County.
Anar Patel, Westchester County
Anar Patel currently serves as Acting Justice of the New York State Supreme Court - Westchester County. She was previously counsel at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP, a position she held since 2020. Prior to being elevated to Counsel, she was a Litigation Associate from 2010 to 2011, and again from 2013 to 2019. She was a Law Clerk to Hon. William Kuntz II from 2011 to 2013. She was also an Adjunct Professor for Legal Practice Workshop at Columbia Law School. Patel's parents are from India and Uganda and she is a first generation American. She is married with three children.
Michael Siragusa, Erie County
Michael Siragusa currently serves as Acting Justice of the New York State Supreme Court - Erie County. Previously, Siragusa was the Erie County Attorney, a position he held since 2012. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant Attorney General and then as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in-Charge of the Buffalo Regional Office through December 31, 2011.
The 11 appointments include:
Raymond Fernandez, Bronx County
Raymond Fernandez has served as the Principal Law Clerk for the Honorable Doris Gonzalez, Administrative Judge for Civil Matters, since 2019. He has also served as a Small Claims Arbitrator for the New York City Civil Court since 2017. Prior to that, he served as the Principal Law Clerk for the Honorable New York State Supreme Court Justice Norma Ruiz. He is a member of the Bronx County Bar Association Civil Courts Committee. Fernandez also serves as Chair for the Equal Justice Committee for the Twelfth Judicial District, Civil Term, and as Director of the Bronx County Bar Association.
Aletha Fields, Suffolk County
Aletha Fields has served as Support Magistrate for the Suffolk County Family Court since 1997. From 1988 to 1997, she served as an Associate Court Attorney for the Civil Court of the City of New York. Fields is the Co-Founder and former Treasurer of the Suffolk County Hispanic Bar Association.
David Fried, Rockland County
David Fried is currently a solo practitioner. He has served as Town Justice for the Town of Ramapo since 2019 and as Village Justice for the Village of Spring Valley since 2015. Fried has also been the President of the Law Offices of David Fried since 2014. Additionally, Fried served as legislator in Rockland County from 2003 to 2007. He currently is the Co-Chair of the Ninth Judicial District Access to Justice, LGBTQ+ Sub-Committee.
Mario Giacobbe, Erie County
Mario Giacobbe is currently Executive Assistant-Second Deputy District Attorney for the Erie County District Attorney's Office. Prior to that, he was a Partner at the Law Offices of Jaworski and Giacobbe from 2006 to 2021. Giacobbe has also served as Town Attorney for the Town of Tonawanda. From 1993 to 2005, he worked for the Erie County District Attorney's Office in various capacities. He was on the Board of Directors for the Bar Association of Erie County from 2017 to 2020.
Brian Haak, Albany County
Brian Haak currently serves as Counsel to the New York State Assembly Majority Conference. Since 2016, he has served in multiple different positions with the Assembly, including as Deputy Counsel, Parliamentarian, Associate Counsel and Home Rule Counsel. Prior to that, he served as Attorney for the Town of Danube and Attorney for the Town of Root. Haak has also served as a Councilman for the Town of Colonie and as Town Supervisor for the Town of St. Johnsville and Montgomery County. He has also held the position of Town Justice for the Town of St. Johnsville and Village Justice for the Village of St. Johnsville.
Seth Marnin, New York County
Seth Marnin currently serves as the Director of Training & Education, Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action at Columbia University. He is the first openly transgender male in American history to serve as a judge. Prior to his current role, Marnin was the founder and principal of Workplace Strategies, advising and guiding non-profit organizations on a range of legal issues. Marnin was the Vice President of Civil Rights at the Anti-Defamation League. Prior to that, he litigated employment discrimination cases at Outten & Golden, LLP. He is a member of the New York City Bar Association.
Nicole McGregor Mundy, Queens County
Nicole McGregor Mundy is currently Principal Law Clerk to Administrative Judge of Queens Supreme Court-Civil Term, a position she has held since 2020. She previously served as the Principal Law Clerk for the Honorable New York State Supreme Court Justice Marguerite Grays since 2003. Prior to that, she served as Court Attorney for the Honorable Marguerite Grays in the Civil Court of the City of New York. She has also served as an Agency Attorney II at the Administration for Children's Services for Manhattan Family Court. From 2010 to 2011, she served as President of the Queens County Women's Bar Association.
Scott Odorisi, Monroe County
Scott Odorisi has served as a New York State Supreme Court Justice for the 7th Judicial District since 2012. He has formally served in the Civil Part, the Criminal Part, as Coordinating Judge of the 7th Judicial District Foreclosure Part, and is currently Coordinating Judge for Civil Assignments in the 7th Judicial District. He is Supervising Judge for Rochester Teen Court and Chairperson of the Monroe and Steuben County Commissioner of Jury Boards. Odorisi formerly served as an Acting Judge for Rochester City Court and an East Rochester Town Justice, where he was the youngest elected judge in New York State at the time. He is a long-standing member of the Monroe County Bar Association.
Kim Parker, New York County
Kim Parker has worked as an Administrative Law Judge and Hearing Officer at the Office of Administrative Trials & Hearings since 2017. She also has served as a sole-practitioner since 2002 and as Of Counsel to Kip Lenoir, Esq. since 2003. From 2015 to 2017, she served as Executive Director of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. She also served as Special Counsel to former New York State Senator Eric Adams. Additionally, she worked on President Obama's Clemency Project, providing pro bono legal services to federal prisoners.
Ruth Shillingford, New York County
Ruth Shillingford has served as Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel for Criminal Justice at the New York City Law Department since 2022. Previously, she was Acting Justice of the New York State Supreme Court from 2009 to 2021. Prior to that, she served as a Criminal Court Judge from 2006 to 2009 and an Interim Civil Judge from 2003 to 2005. From 1994 to 2003, she worked with the Supreme Court Appellate Division as an Assistant Deputy Chief Court Attorney and a Principal Court Attorney. She also served an Assistant District Attorney and Unit Chief for the Special Narcotics and Asset Forfeiture Unit for the New York County District Attorney's Office from 1988 to 1991.
Ellen Tobin, Nassau County
Ellen Tobin has been a Litigation Partner for Westerman Ball Ederer Miller Zucker & Sharfstein, LLP since 2019 after working as a litigation associate for the firm from 2015 to 2018. Prior to that, she worked as a Litigation Associate with Curtis, Mattel-Prevost, Cot & Mosle LLP. She also served as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable A. Kathleen Tomlinson, United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York. She has served as Director of the Nassau County Bar Association since 2022 and Secretary of the Federal Bar Association for the Eastern District of New York since 2022.
The New York State Court of Claims is the exclusive forum for civil litigation seeking damages against the State of New York or certain other State-related entities such as the New York State Thruway Authority, the City University of New York, the Olympic Regional Development Authority, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Corporation and the New York State Power Authority (claims for the appropriation of real property only).
The Court of Claims has no jurisdiction over any city, county or town government, or over any individual defendant.
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