DiFiore: Impossible Not To Feel Positive and Optimistic About the Future
Good morning Members,
In her biweekly address, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore reviewed the progress the courts have made in dealing with COVID-19 in 2021.
“We can take pride and satisfaction in knowing that our court system is in a good place as we prepare to enter the new year,” said DiFiore.
She cited a vaccinated workforce, safe ways to expand in-person operations and a new virtual court model as examples of the court’s improvements.
“Our judges, staff and court leaders have done an extraordinary job of rising above the relentless day‐to‐day operational pressures and safety issues of the pandemic to implement significant reforms to improve the administration of justice, including Secretary Johnson’s equal justice recommendations to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion in the courts, as well as innovative initiatives to expand access to justice and bridge the digital divide in our virtual courts,” said DiFiore.
DiFiore concluded: “I look forward to updating you again on Jan. 3, and to resuming our work together to build on all of our forward progress and momentum from 2021.”
A fond farewell and a warm welcome
Judge Eugene Fahey will retire from the Court of Appeals at midnight on Dec. 31. “Judge Fahey has been everything that one could ask for in a colleague: smart, experienced, hard‐working, collegial and dedicated to the institutional mission of the Court of Appeals,” said DiFiore.
Governor Hochul has nominated” an exceptional judge” to fill the vacancy on the court: Shirley Troutman, associate justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department.
“Justice Troutman’s career has been marked by her generous public service and her leadership and commitment to the fair administration of justice, including her service as co‐chair of the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission,” said DiFiore. “We congratulate Judge Troutman, we wish her good luck in her Senate confirmation hearing, and we look forward to her joining the Court of Appeals in the new year.”
New administrative judge
Hon. Vito M. DeStefano will serve as administrative judge of the Nassau County Courts, overseeing the daily operations of the trial courts within Nassau County. DeStefano has been serving as Nassau County’s acting administrative judge in addition to maintaining a civil case inventory in state Supreme Court.
“Judge DeStefano is a highly regarded member of the New York State bench, admired for his scholarship, hard work and dedication to the fair and efficient administration of justice. He is an energetic leader and innovative thinker. I look forward to our working together as we continue to address logistical and other COVID-related challenges in these turbulent times, striving to attain operational excellence and expand access to justice throughout Nassau County,” said Chief Administrative Judge Marks.
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