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Two Brooklyn judges appointed to the Court of Claims bench

July 11, 2022 Robert Abruzzese, Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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A pair of judges who were sitting in Brooklyn, Hon. Joanne Quinones and Hon. Javier Vargas, were appointed to the New York State Court of Claims by Gov. Kathy Hochul last month.

“I am confident that each of these exceptional appointments will serve our state with honor and distinction,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “The diversity of perspective and long tenure of expertise each appointee will bring with them to the bench should leave no doubt in the mind of every New Yorker that they have an expert, fair and impartial voice in our state’s judiciary.”

Judge Quinones, who currently serves as the president of the Latino Judges Association, became a Civil Court judge in 2010 and was appointed to the Kings County Supreme Court, Criminal Term until she went to the Kings County Criminal Court in 2011. Since 2017, Judge Quinones has sat in Kings County Supreme Court and most recently served in the matrimonial part.

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Before joining the bench, Judge Quinones served as the principal court attorney to Hon. Matthew Cooper in the Manhattan Supreme Court.

Judge Vargas previous sat in the Kings County Family Court prior to this announcement, which is where he has served since 2015. Judge Vargas also previously sat in the New York Civil Court, Housing Part, prior to joining the family court.

Prior to joining the bench, Judge Vargas was a chief court attorney for the Appellate Division, First Department. Judge Vargas was named the 2017 Latino Judge of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association.

From left: Natoya McGhie, Carrie Anne Cavallo, Hon. Joanne Quinones and Hon. Matthew Cooper.

On Wednesday June 1, 2022, Governor’s Kathy Hochul’s historic Court of Claims nominees appeared before the senate judiciary committee. The diverse group included three first-generation Americans, three South Asian Americans, the first Muslim American, and first little person. The nominees represented counties across the State from Buffalo to Brooklyn.

During the hearing, Judge Quinones, who was born in Bushwick, recounted her legal journey, her commitment to fairness on the bench and her dedication to diversity and mentorship. After the hearing, family and friends watched while the nominees participated in a certificate ceremony with the Court of Claims Presiding Justice Hon. Richard Sise.

Judge Quinones, who is a past president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, was supported by Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association past presidents Carrie Anne Cavallo and Natoya L. McGhie. Justice Quinones thanked the Honorable Matthew Cooper, who was in attendance, for his unwavering support and for introducing her to the court system when she served as his court attorney.

“l was honored to have had the opportunity to attend and support my amazing mentor — Justice Joanne Quinones,” McGhie said. “She has served as a mentor and a friend to so many of us and I’m always in awe of her achievements. She works hard and is very deserving of the appointment to the Court of Claims.”

The Court of Claims handles cases against New York State and its state agencies. The judges on the court are appointed by the governor, confirmed by the State Senate, and sit for a nine-year term. Judges who preside over this court will often serve as an acting justice of the State Supreme Court.

The administrative judge for the Supreme Court, Criminal Term, Hon. Matthew Demic, also appeared before the committee for appointment as an interim Supreme Court justice. The judicial nominees were confirmed by the Senate shortly after midnight on June 3, 2022.

Brooklyn Women’s Bar sits down for lunch with Judge Joy Campanelli

The Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association hosted its monthly “Lunch with a Judge” meeting on Thursday with Hon. Joy Campanelli.

“I was born and raised in Brooklyn, attended local schools, and then became a trial attorney,” Judge Campanelli said in recalling her career. “Before I became a trial attorney, I was a clerk and intern for two fantastic Supreme Court judges who have been off the bench, and they were very influential in my career.”

After graduating from New York Law School, Judge Campanelli began her legal career in private practice working as a litigator for a plaintiff’s injury firm. In 2014, Judge Campanelli was elected to the Civil Court and was appointed to the Kings County Criminal Court, which is where she sat until a promotion to supervising judge of the Richmond County Civil Court. Finally, she was elected to the Supreme Court in Brooklyn in 2021.

“Having been in front of the bench and then having worked behind it really prepared me to take the bench,” Campanelli said. “I worked for a judge (Hon. David Vaughan) who was truly a trial judge. As soon as he was done with a trial, he would call for his next case. I learned so much from him and was so appreciative.”

The BWBA’s Lunch with a Judge event is a regular, monthly event where members of the Women’s Bar Association get to sit down with a local judge, usually from Brooklyn, though not exclusively, for a casual conversation. It usually involves an explanation of their careers, how they became a judge, and what goes on in their courtroom.

Hon. Joy Campanelli (top right) sat down with members of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association for its regular “Lunch with a Judge” series on Thursday.

Robert Abruzzese is the former Legal Editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Director of Member Services at the Brooklyn Bar Association. In addition to writing this column, he currently attends Touro Law Center and is an Administrative Assistant at the Cavallo Firm, PLLC. You can reach him via email at [email protected].

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