Hon. Connie Mallafre Melendez sworn in as State Supreme Court justice

April 22, 2022 Jaime DeJesus
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Hon. Connie Mallafre Melendez was officially sworn in as a state Supreme Court justice during an induction ceremony Tuesday, April 19 at St. Francis College, 180 Remsen St.

Mallafre Melendez was elected to the state Supreme Court, Kings County, in November 2021 and is the first Cuban-born Supreme Court Judge in New York.

She said that the evening gave her the opportunity to thank the many individuals and groups who enthusiastically supported her during her judicial races. 

Hon. Connie Mallafre Melendez and Hon. Lawrence Knipel, administrative judge for Civil Matters, Kings County Supreme Court
Eagle Urban Media/ photos by Arthur De Gaeta

“I am grateful to them and humbled by the honor of being the first Cuban American to be elected judge of the Supreme Court in the State of New York,” she said. “Taking the oath to serve as a Supreme Court justice in the presence of family and friends coming from the many diverse communities of Brooklyn was the sweet culmination of what originally seemed an impossible goal.”

In November 2017 she was elected as a New York City Civil Court judge. In 2018, she was assigned to Brooklyn Criminal Court, where she arraigned defendants in both felony and criminal misdemeanor cases. She also presided over domestic violence and youth cases.

Before her election, she was the principal court attorney for Justice Marsha Steinhardt, and worked on medical malpractice cases and trials.

During her speech, she also cited the sacrifices made by her parents and grandparents, who came to this country after fleeing from Cuba. She was still a child at the time.

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party.
Eagle Urban Media/ photos by Arthur De Gaeta

“I learned many lessons watching and listening to my parents and grandparents,” she said. “I saw that they forged ahead despite their losses and found new ways to remain hopeful and make their lives meaningful.  My mother, in particular, encouraged me to pick myself up whenever I would fall and to persevere when doors would close. I internalized my mother’s messages and they echo within me during good and bad times.”

She obtained a JD degree from Brooklyn Law School. She decided to pursue a career in law when she was a social worker, assisting victims of domestic violence and children who were sexually and physically abused.

The oath of office was administered by Hon. Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix, corporation counsel of the City of New York.

Speakers from the evening included Hon. Lawrence Knipel, administrative judge for Civil Matters, Kings County Supreme Court; Hon. Sallie Manzanet Daniels, associate justice, Appellate Division, First Department; Assemblymember and Chair of the Kings County Democratic Party Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn; State Sen. Roxanne Persuad; Queens Housing Court Judge Enedina Pilar Sanchez; Councilmember Ari Kagan; Arelis Martines, district leader for the 51st A.D.; and Henry Butler, district leader for the 56th A.D.

Councilmember Ari Kagan and Hon. Connie Mallafre Melendez.
Eagle Urban Media/ photos by Arthur De Gaeta

Her husband Frank M. Melendez also spoke, as well as her children Frank, Olivia and Anjelique Melendez.

Attendees were happy to be at the event. “I was honored to speak at the induction ceremony for the amazing Kings County Supreme Court Justice Connie Mallafre Melendez, the first Cuban American elected to this important position in NYS,” said Kagan. “Hard work, integrity and perseverance paid off.”

Hon. Connie Mallafre Melendez and State Sen. Roxanne Persaud.
Eagle Urban Media/ photos by Arthur De Gaeta

“Yesterday was my first time as a district leader being a guest speaker at an induction ceremony for a judge,” said Butler. “Thank you, Supreme Court Justice Connie Mallafre Melendez, for the opportunity. You are a role model for Cuban American young girls, immigrants, and all young girls of color who have no limits on their dreams.”

Eagle Urban Media/ photos by Arthur De Gaeta

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