Judge Silver Retires, Vaccination Deadline Nears

By Christian Nolan

Judge Silver Retires, Vaccination Deadline Nears

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Good evening Members,

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, during her coronavirus update today, announced that Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for the New York City Courts, George J. Silver, was retiring from the bench at the end of this month to pursue opportunities in the private sector.

“Judge Silver was a stellar trial judge, widely respected for his ability to efficiently manage and resolve the cases on his docket,” said DiFiore. “Over the years, Judge Silver excelled in every challenging assignment he was asked or volunteered to take on, everything from presiding over the Trial Assignment Part in New York County Supreme Court to leading a pilot program on early settlement of medical malpractice cases.”

DiFiore said that under Silver’s leadership as deputy chief administrative judge, backlogs were slashed, case processing times improved, presumptive early ADR was implemented and the quality and efficiency of the court system’s justice services was upgraded.

“When COVID-19 struck our court system and communities, Judge Silver worked, literally, around the clock to lead the team of judges and court professionals who accomplished our amazing transition from in-person to virtual,” DiFiore recalled. “And month after trying month, Judge Silver continued to lead from the front, implementing health and safety protocols and guiding the safe resumption of in-person operations, including grand jury operations and in-person civil and criminal jury trials throughout all five boroughs of New York City.

“And through it all,” DiFiore continued, “Judge Silver was a beacon of strength for all of us, inspiring everyone around him with his unshakeable commitment to keeping the New York City courts open and accessible, his passion for ensuring equal justice and his genuine care and concern for the emotional well-being of his colleagues and staff.”

Vaccination Deadline Nears

Absent a valid medical or religious exemption, all state judges and staff are required to submit proof of having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 27.

DiFiore said that she’s encouraged by the very large number of judges and court staff who have shown proof of vaccination as they approach the deadline.

She said separate memos addressing the procedures that need to be followed to submit proof of vaccination were circulated earlier this month – one to all judges and another to all non-judicial personnel. Attached to the memos were the official exemption forms that must be submitted by employees with underlying medical conditions that make receiving a COVID-19 vaccine unsafe for them, and by those employees with sincerely held religious beliefs or practices that prohibit them from receiving the vaccine. The deadline for submitting those forms is 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 27.

Dispensing Justice From a Distance

The Historical Society of the New York Courts has launched Dispensing Justice from a Distance – a digital archive of nearly 40 interviews with judges and court staff, including public safety and tech support, documenting their real-time experiences to keep the courts open, both virtually and in person, during the months of pandemic lockdown in New York. A timeline tracks the court system’s major milestones during the pandemic with images and documents to complete the record.

“We view these accounts as a living history archive that captures for generations to come the visceral feel of what it was like to figure out how to keep the courts operating during the pandemic,” said Marilyn Marcus, the Historical Society’s executive director. “Guided by the chief judge and chief administrative judge, aided by the remarkable work of the technology staff, administrative and sitting judges, chief clerks and security officers learned new ways to work together while they were forced to be apart. These are their compelling personal stories.”

“I want to thank the Society’s president, our former chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, and its Executive Director Marilyn Marcus, for creating an enduring testament to the ingenuity and resilience of our judges and court staff in responding to the challenges of the pandemic,” said DiFiore.

Upcoming CLE Webinars

Friday, Sept. 24 – Landlord-Tenant Law During Covid: Singin’ the Delta Blues.

Monday, Sept. 27 – New York’s Pass-Through Entity Tax: The Inner-Workings of the Workaround.

Monday, Sept. 27 – Best Practices: Roundtable on Different Approaches to Arbitration.

Wednesday, Sept. 29 – Basic Human Resources for Solos and Small Firms.

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