Mayor Adams announces 10 criminal and family court judge appointments and reappointments

November 17, 2022

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced 10 court appointments and reappointments, including seven criminal court appointments and three family court reappointments.

“Ensuring our justice system operates efficiently, fairly and justly is essential to providing New Yorkers with the safety they need and the justice they deserve, said Mayor Adams. “These new criminal and family court appointees represent the cream of the crop, and we thank them for their dedication to serving our city.

“These appointments will immediately help our justice system continue to reduce the huge backlog of cases that swelled at the height of the pandemic,” said City Hall Chief Counsel Brendan McGuire. “The Mayor’s Judicial Advisory Committee reviewed hundreds of applicants and selected these individuals after a rigorous screening process to identify the best candidates. We thank these judges for their service.

Mayor Adams appointed the following judges to the Criminal Court:

Judge Sara Litman was a former assistant district attorney in Kings County where she started in the Red Zone Trials Bureau before eventually becoming senior assistant district attorney in the Sex Crimes Bureau. She then joined the New York State Unified Court System as a senior law clerk in the Supreme Court of Kings, New York, and Bronx Counties. She last served as senior counsel in the Kings County Supreme Court, Legal Department.

Judge Michael Ryan served with the Kings County Attorney’s Office from the start of his legal career, until his appointment to the bench. During his tenure, he was assigned to various offices and held several titles including, but not limited to, Deputy Bureau Chief of the Early Case Assessment, Rackets, and Criminal Courts offices. ; and as Bureau Chief of the Human Trafficking Bureau and Investigations Division. For the past eight years he has served as Head of the Criminal Courts Unit.

Judge Dale Fong-Frederick most recently presided as Adjudicator of Court at Kings County Surrogate’s Court. He began his legal career with the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Division in Queens County, as a staff attorney and later as a senior attorney. He then became a New York County Defense Services staff attorney and senior law clerk to a criminal court judge briefly before returning to the Legal Aid Society. During his second term with the Legal Aid Society, he served the Kings County Criminal Defense Division and the Harlem Housing Rights Unit. Judge Fong-Frederick went on to establish his own solo practice before joining the New York State Unified Court System, where he served in a variety of capacities, including as Principal Clerk of the Kings County Supreme and Criminal Courts. .

Judge Germaine Auguste was first appointed as an acting civil court judge in August 2021 and served on the criminal court. Justice Auguste previously worked for the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Practice in Queens for 30 years. She was a supervising attorney for over 10 years prior to her appointment to the bench.

Judge Simiyon Haniff was first appointed as an acting civil court judge in December 2021 and served on the criminal court. Judge Haniff began his legal career in the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, serving in the Admissions, Domestic Violence, Appeals, and Trials offices. He then formed two partnerships and opened his own practice. He then returned to the Queens County District Attorney’s Office and served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Criminal Court and Domestic Violence Offices. Prior to his appointment, he was the supervising attorney for the AP-2 portion of the Office of the Criminal Court.

Judge Vidya Pappachan was first appointed as an acting civil court judge in December 2021 and served on the criminal court. Previously, she served as an attorney to the Honorable Josh E. Hanshaft, who was assigned to New York County Criminal Court; and briefly in Kings County, Family Court. After completing her law degree, Justice Pappachan began her career with the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Practice as a barrister.

Judge Rachel Pauley was first appointed as an acting civil court judge in December 2021 and served on the criminal court. Judge Pauley began her legal career with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office of Domestic Violence and as a commercial litigation associate for a private firm. She then became lead counsel to two Supreme Court justices in criminal matters. Subsequently, she served as Confidential Legal Assistant in the Office of the New York State Attorney General and Special Investigative Board and Director of Training in the Office of the Inspector General of New York State. Prior to her appointment, she served as Director of Government Programs, Social Justice Initiatives and Lecturer at Columbia Law School until her appointment to the bench.

Mayor Adams reappointed the following judges to Family Court:

Judge Peter Passidomo was first appointed as a Family Court Judge in December 2008. Judge Passidomo was a former court attorney and a New York State Unified Court System Support Magistrate in Family Court. He later served as Chief Prosecutor and Chief Family Court Judge. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he served as Chief Clerk to the Administrative Judge of New York Family Court.

Judge Gilbert Taylor is currently a supervising judge of Queens County Family Court. He was first appointed as a family court judge in March 2016. Early in his legal career, Judge Taylor worked for the New York City Children’s Services Administration (ACS) in as a supervising attorney in the Queens Family Court Litigation Unit before continuing to serve. as Chief Counsel and Executive Director of the Law Guardian Program at Children’s Rights Society, Inc. He later returned to ACS serving in various capacities, ultimately as Executive Deputy Commissioner of Child Protection and briefly as Acting Commissioner. He then joined the New York City Department of Homeless Services as a commissioner. Prior to his appointment, he served as Senior Advisor for Homeless Initiatives to the Deputy Mayor.

Judge Amanda White is currently a supervising judge of Kings County Family Court. She was first appointed as an Acting Civil Court Judge in January 2011 and then as a Family Court Judge in December 2011. Judge White worked for the Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Division for nearly two decades in the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Prior to her initial appointment, she was the attorney in charge of the Bronx office.

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