December 22, 2022
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Nominates Hon. Hector D. Lasalle to be Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals

Governor Hochul Nominates Hon. Hector D. Lasalle to be Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals

An Expert Jurist, LaSalle Brings Strong Experience Building Consensus and Increasing Access to Justice

Hon. Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelson Would Serve as Chief Administrative Judge

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Governor Kathy Hochul today nominated the Honorable Hector D. LaSalle, Presiding Justice of New York Supreme Court's Second Department, as the next Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals. As Chief Judge, Judge LaSalle would lead New York's highest court and oversee the State's entire judiciary branch. In addition, Governor Hochul announced her strong support for Judge LaSalle's intention to appoint the Honorable Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelson to serve as Chief Administrative Judge, if he is confirmed by the Senate. The Chief Administrative Judge oversees the day-to-day operation of the statewide court system.

"New York's Court of Appeals has a long history as a beacon of justice, and Judge LaSalle is an outstanding jurist in that tradition. He has the skills, experience, and intellect to ensure that our highest court is seen as a leader across the country," Governor Hochul said. "Judge LaSalle has a sterling reputation as a consensus-builder, and I know he can unite the court in service of justice. He has effectively led the largest state appellate court in the country, and in partnership with Judge Richardson-Mendelson, I know he will be focused on expanding access to justice for New Yorkers. Our state courts are more important now than ever when it comes to protecting our rights and upholding New York values, and I know that Judge LaSalle will lead the court in doing just that."

"I am humbled by Governor Hochul's nomination, and I thank her for this tremendous honor. I am committed to leading the Court with integrity and fairness, upholding justice, and protecting the rights of New Yorkers," Judge LaSalle said. "If confirmed, I plan to appoint the Honorable Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelson to serve as Chief Administrative Judge, and I would be honored to work with her to get our courts functioning as efficiently and effectively as possible for the betterment of all New Yorkers."

As the Presiding Justice of the Second Department since 2021, Judge LaSalle has led the busiest and largest state appellate court in the nation, with 21 Associate Justices, over 400 non-judicial employees, and a budget of approximately $69 million. He was appointed associate justice in the Second Department in 2014, after being elected as a New York State Supreme Court justice in 2008.

Previously, Judge LaSalle served as an assistant district attorney in the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office from 1993 to 1998 and from 2002 to 2008, when he was deputy bureau chief of the Special Investigation Bureau. In between his years at the DA's office, he worked as an associate at Ruskin Moscou Faltishek, P.C. from 1998 to 1999 and was an Assistant Attorney General from 1999 to 2002.

If confirmed, Judge LaSalle would make history as the first Latino Chief Judge. His parents were born in Puerto Rico, and he grew up on Long Island, graduated from Brentwood High School and became the first person in his family to get a college degree. Judge LaSalle received a bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1990 and earned his law degree from University of Michigan Law School in 1993. He is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Suffolk County Bar Association, the NYS Latino Judges Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the Puerto Rican Bar Association.

The Honorable Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelson has been the New York Unified Court System's Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives since 2017 and Court of Claims Judge. In that role, she works to ensure meaningful access to justice for all New Yorkers in civil, criminal and family courts, regardless of income, background or ability. Judge Richardson-Mendelson also leads the Equal Justice in Courts Initiative to implement the recommendations of Special Adviser on Equal Justice, Jeh Johnson, on racial bias in the state court system, as well as to implement the recommendations of the New York State Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts to enhance gender fairness in the New York State Courts. Judge Richardson-Mendelson was appointed to the Court of Claims in 2017 and remains active on the bench. Judge Richardson-Mendelson first joined the court system as a Court Attorney-Referee in Queens County Family Court, after representing clients in New York City Housing Court, Family Court, and the Supreme Court. She became a Family Court Judge in 2003, the Queens County Supervising Family Court Judge in 2008, and a year later, was elevated to Administrative Judge of all New York City Family Courts. Judge Richardson-Mendelson is a graduate of CUNY Law School, holds a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice, and has been an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Hofstra Law School.

The Court of Appeals Chief Judge selection process is governed by statute, and is led by the state Commission on Judicial Nomination. The Commission sends the Governor a list of seven candidates, from which she must select one candidate to nominate.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640


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