Brooklyn Boro

Three women re-elected, elected as judges in Brooklyn

September 14, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Hon. Ingrid Joseph was one of three women who were elected or re-elected to the bench in Brooklyn on Thursday night. She serves as the supervising judge of the Kings County Civil Court and has been an Acting Supreme Court Justice since 2012. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese

After voting six women to the bench in Brooklyn in 2017, voters have once again chosen and all-female slate of judges as the winners of Thursday’s Democratic Primary.

Hon. Ingrid Joseph, supervising judge of the Kings County Civil Court, and Hon. Loren Baily, acting Supreme Court justice, Civil Term, were re-elected on Thursday night. With 97.88 percent of the precincts reporting, Justice Joseph took the highest percentage of votes at 34.36 percent. Justice Baily had 30.54 percent of the votes.

Their opponents, Sheryl Orwel and Saul Cohen, got just 22.77 percent and 11.85 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Gina Levy, who is an active member of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn and other local bar associations, easily won her race against Olga Fort as she took 72.8 percent of the vote compared to the 26.8 percent Fort managed to take.

That makes a total of nine women, and no men, who have been elected or re-elected in Brooklyn since 2017. The others include Hon. Connie Mallafre Melendez, Hon. Robin Sheares, Hon. Patria Frias-Colon, Hon. Sandra Roper, Hon. Elena Baron and Hon. Ellen Edwards.

Levy, a Brooklyn Law School graduate who has served as the principal law clerk for Hon. Donald S. Kurtz since 2006, becomes the first woman of Syrian Jewish descent to be elected to the Civil Court in the borough. She has also served as an arbitrator since 2010 in Small Claims Court.

The Brooklyn Eagle asked Carrie Anne Cavallo, the president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association (BWBA), if she thought that there was something to the trend of nine women winning judicial elections, and she noted that many of the women being elected are coming from backgrounds that people like to see on the bench.

“I think women like to serve and this is a good way to serve and give back to the community,” Cavallo said. “When you look at the history of people on the bench a lot of what you see are people coming from a public interest background and there has been a string of female candidates that fit that description. A lot of these people are driven to give back to their communities.”

Cavallo also noted that a few of the women elected have come out of the BWBA and pointed out that the bar association has been a great tool for networking. Justice Joseph was formerly a board member at the BWBA.

“I know that I’m a bit bias, but I think joining our bar association, or any bar association, really helps introduce you to a lot of the members of the legal community and opens a lot of doors. What you choose to do with those doors is totally up to you, but it doesn’t hurt to get to know so many people in the community.”

The two judges and one judge-elect will appear on the general election ballot in November, but three will run unopposed after winning the Democratic primaries.