Brooklyn Boro

Equal Justice Committee already making an impact on legal community

Two events coming up this month: Meet the Public Administrator & Unity in Diversity Fair

October 7, 2022 Rob Abruzzese
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Though the court’s new Second Judicial District Equal Justice Committee (EJC) is not even a year old it has quickly made a name for itself in the Brooklyn legal community.

The EJC is a group of judges and court employees that was formed in November 2021 under the auspices of Hon. Edwina Mendelson, deputy chief administrative judge for Justice Initiatives, to help ensure that people coming into the Brooklyn courts were treated fairly. That includes everyone working in the building, be they a judge, court attorney, or court officer, or just coming in as a juror, defendant or litigant.

The group is chaired by Hon. Joanne Quiñones, a judge of the New York Court of Claims, and includes Hon. Odessa Kennedy, Daniel Alessandrino and Charles Small, the chief clerks of the Kings County Supreme Court, Criminal and Civil Terms, respectively, and Hon. Nancy Sunshine, the county clerk and commissioner of jurors.

The group has already been quite busy, including a visit to the Brooklyn High School for Leadership and Community Service in Bedford-Stuyvesant last April.

The committee members, which also includes Ronald Cosme Jr., Natoya McGhie, Lissette Morales, Kiyoko Panzella, Leah Richardson, Cpt. David Salazar, Nicole Smith, Nadonna Ferguson, and Court Officer Joshua Crosby, met with students and discussed their career paths to the courts and the importance of persistency.

Hon. Joanne Quiñones, a judge of the New York Court of Claims, and chair of the Second Judicial District Equal Justice Committee (EJC).

More recently, on Monday, Oct. 3, members of the group, including Hon. Jeffrey Sunshine, statewide coordinating judge for matrimonial cases, Hon. Matthew D’Emic and Hon. Lawrence Knipel, the administrative judges of the Kings County Supreme Court, Criminal and Civil Terms, respectively, and Hon. Mendelson, took part in “C3: Courts and Communities in Conversation” session with members of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and the Puerto Rican Bar Association (PRBA).

The EJC co-sponsoring two other events prior to its first birthday.

On Monday, Oct. 17, from 12:30 p.m. until 2 p.m., in the Kings County Surrogate’s Court, there will be a “Meet and Greet” event with Javier Ortiz, the Kings County Public Administrator and his staff. The Surrogate Court Justices, Hon. Rosemarie Montalbano and Hon. Carol Edmead, will also be in attendance.

The Public Administrator’s office may administer estates of people in Brooklyn who die without a will. Various surveys have reported that anywhere between 55 percent and 68 percent of Americans die without a will.

That event is being co-sponsored by the Cervantes Society and the Brooklyn Bar Association’s Trusts & Estates Section and Surrogate’s Court Committee. It is in-person in the Surrogate’s Court.

Then on Friday, Oct. 21, from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., the EJC is hosting a Unity in Diversity Fair in the Kings County Supreme Court located at 320 Jay Street.

In recognition of Global Diversity Awareness Month, the Unity Fair will feature remarks from Hon. Mendelson, Hon. Deborah Kaplan, deputy chief administrative judge for the NYC Courts, Hon. Hector LaSalle, the presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, and Hon. Matthew D’Emic and Hon. Lawrence Knipel.

Hon. Deborah Kaplan, deputy chief administrative judge for the NYC Courts, will be one of the judges to speak as part of the Unity Fair in recognition of Global Diversity Awareness Month.
Eagle file photo by Paul Frangipane
Kings County Public Administrator Javier Ortiz, with his wife Tamara Ortiz, will be the featured guest of the Second Judicial District Equal Justice Committee (EJC) On Monday, Oct. 17 as part of a “Meet and Greet” in the Surrogate’s Court. Eagle photo by Robert Abruzzese


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