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New Democratic judicial nominees are a cross-section of Brooklyn

'Firsts' include Sephardic woman, Muslim, Asian and Cuban-American

August 7, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The seven judicial nominees for open bench seats on the Kings County Supreme Court that were chosen Thursday at the Kings County Democratic Party’s judicial convention are the most diverse slate of judicial candidates to date in Brooklyn — with an unprecedented number of women candidates.

The nominees are: Consuelo “Connie” Mallafre-Melendez, Gina Levy Abadi, Dena Douglas, Carolyn Walker Diallo, Richard Montelione, Joy Campanelli and Lillian Wan.

Hon. Mallafre-Melendez is the first Cuban-born immigrant to run for the Kings County Supreme Court bench. Hon. Levy Abadi, who is currently serving as a Civil Court judge, is the first Orthodox Sephardic woman to run for the bench. Hon. Walker Diallo is the first Muslim judge to ever serve in Kings county.

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Additionally, Hon. Wan is currently the first female Asian-American judge to serve on the New York Court of Claims and is the first Asian-American woman to run for the Supreme Court bench. Hon. Montelione adds to the diversity slate as being an openly gay judge in the court.

“The Brooklyn Democratic Party is committed to electing experienced and culturally competent judges who will deliver equitable, fair, and honest justice for each and every Brooklynite,” said Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, who is also chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party.

(Left to right, top to bottom) Hon. Dena Douglas, Hon. Carolyn Walker Diallo, Hon. Consuelo “Connie” Mallafre-Melendez, Hon. Gina Levy Abadi, Hon. Joy Campanelli, Hon. Lillian Wan.

“I am thankful for all the Kings County District Leaders leadership in making this happen, including our Law Chair Frank Carone and (Executive Director) Jeff Feldman, who convened and chaired the convention,” she added.

“Justice Abadi has proven herself to be a highly competent and dedicated Civil and Criminal Court Judge who has brought equity and reform to the courts,” said Bichotte Hermelyn. “Abadi is a proud Orthodox Sephardic woman whose parents came to the U.S. to practice their faith openly. She has never forgotten her roots, and relentlessly fights for unbiased justice.”

Justice Abadi’s nomination was secured with the help of Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst), the Sephardic Community Federation and many Jewish leaders in Flatbush and Borough Park.

“My district and I are so grateful to Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte and to all of my colleagues for their support to advance Judge Gina Levy Abadi as the Democratic nominee for New York Supreme Court,” said Treyger. Judge Abadi assumed office as a Brooklyn Civil Court judge after serving for 17 years as a law clerk for Justice Donald Kurtz.

(Left to right) Frank Carone, Councilmember Mark Treyger, Hon. Gina Levy Abadi, Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn.

“Carolyn Walker Diallo is a highly-recognized and trailblazing justice,” said Bichotte Hermelyn.

“As the first Muslim to serve as a judge in the State of New York, who faced death threats while being sworn in [in 2015, when she was sworn in as a Civil Court judge on the Koran], she has a first-hand understanding of the barriers facing minorities and has tirelessly fought to bring equity and reform to our justice system,” Bichotte Hermelyn added.

“Justices Consuelo “Connie” Mallafre-Melendez, Dena Douglas, Joy Campanelli, Richard Montelione and Lillian Wan also have proven track records of progressive judicial and courtroom achievements, and have continued to help bring fairness and impartiality to the courts, despite the challenges of the pandemic.

“I’m confident that Brooklyn’s legal system will be in capable hands when these justices are elected,” concluded Bichotte Hermelyn.


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