Brooklyn judges mourn the passing of Justice Herbert Kramer

November 5, 2012 By Charisma L. Miller, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The Brooklyn legal community is mourning the late Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice-Civil Term Herbert Kramer, who died last week. Judge Kramer served on the bench for 33 years.  

Born in Bayonne, New Jersey, Justice Kramer and his family moved to the East Flatbush neighborhood of Wingate when he was 12 years old. He graduated from New York University School of Law in 1964 and spent most of his professional life serving communities in and around Brooklyn.

After working at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District, Justice Kramer successfully ran for a judgeship in 1979. He has been quoted as describing that race as an “extremely hotly contested primary.”

During his tenure on the bench, Justice Kramer was entrusted with making every polling site in New York City handicapped-accessible in a Board of Elections case. An article that appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle described how Kramer pored over maps of the city for every single polling site and then they toured the borough, inspecting each and every location for proper signage and preparation for the handicapped.

This case is similar to the recent lawsuit against the New York City Board of Elections, where disability rights advocates again petitioned the courts to ensure that the Board of Elections makes polling sites accessible for those with disabilities.

Kings County Supreme Court Justice Esther Morgenstern was Judge Kramer’s law secretary on the Board of Elections case.  “I am deeply saddened,” said Justice Morgenstern. “Justice Kramer had an illustrious career in the law. He was well respected and beloved by his colleagues.”  

Robert Gershon, president of the Kings County Criminal Bar Association, said he was “sad to announce the passing of Hon. Herbert Kramer.”

In addition to his work granting access for handicapped voters, Justice Kramer was instrumental in addressing the mortgage crisis plaguing Brooklyn. Along with fellow Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Carolyn Demarest, Justice Kramer started to look more closely at foreclosures.

“We started to see a pattern of what I will call fraud, neglect, missing documents, failing to properly notify homeowners — and this was well before any of  these things hit the headlines,” he said.  

“I find his passing to be a devastating loss to the legal community, particularly the Brooklyn legal community,” said Justice Demarest. “In the general field of law, he has done a great deal of wonderful work that has been very important – most recently, his work with the economic crisis and the mortgage foreclosure debacle. We worked together very closely to deal with the problems associated with this crisis.

“A lot has been accomplished, and Judge Kramer has been a vanguard in this area. I will miss him very much,” she said.

Of her friend, mentor and colleague, Judge Morgenstern notes  the legacy Justice Kramer leaves behind.  “[Justice Kramer] left a legacy behind of over 250 published decisions on novel issues of law. He tried over 1,000 jury trials in his 33-year career on the bench. He leaves behind his wife, Irma, of 50 years, three children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. May he rest in peace.”

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