Marine Park

Brooklyn Dems nominate six Supreme Court Justices for election; historic slate reflects diverse borough

August 10, 2023 Special from IN PUBLIC SERVICE
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MARINE PARK — The Kings County Democratic County Party’s Judicial Convention convened successfully on Thursday evening to officially nominate six judges to run on the Democratic party’s line in the election for open bench seats in Kings County’s New York State Supreme Court.

The Democratic Supreme Court nominees are: Judge Heela Capell, Judge Sharon A.B. Clarke, Judge Caroline P. Cohen, Judge Rachel Freier, Judge Saul Stein, and Judge Joanne D. Quiñones.

The Judicial Convention, which took place at Marine Park Golf Course in southern Brooklyn, was a success, with judicial delegates civically engaged in a fair and transparent voting process.

Party leaders and executives conducting the convention.
Judicial Convention Chair Marty Connor (former NYS Senator).

The six judicial candidates will now appear on the ballot for November’s Primary Election (and quite likely win in heavily Blue Brooklyn, often uncontested).

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

All six candidates were endorsed by the Brooklyn Democratic Party this Monday, when the Party’s District Leaders met in-person to vote for the Party’s official nod of approval.

This year’s vetting process notably involved an additional filter through the Party’s Ad-Hoc Judiciary Committee, who gathered community feedback, for District Leaders to presumably make better decisions. “It helps ensure we’re endorsing judges who are culturally competent,” said Party Chair Bichotte Hermelyn.

Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn engaged in a discussion with the nominees.

“We sincerely congratulate all the Democratic nominees, who not only have proven track records of progressive judicial and courtroom achievements, but also deeply understand the needs and intricacies of our diverse communities.  They will continue our mission to help bring fairness and impartiality to the courts,” said Party Chair Bichotte Hermelyn.

The historic slate, continuing the Party’s recent trend of diverse nominations, is the first time two Orthodox Judges — Freier and Stein — were nominated on one such ticket. Freier, who already serves as an Acting Supreme Court Justice, and has broken barriers, would be the first Hasidic woman elected to the role.

(Left to right) Judge Saul Stein, Party Chair Bichotte Hermelyn, Judge Rachel Freier.

Also noteworthy is that there’s a heavy majority of women nominees, all from varying backgrounds. “There’s a big sense of pride to have more women nominated to the bench; making our judicial system better reflect our borough,” said Bichotte Hermleyn, who is the first woman to Chair the County Party.

Judge Caroline P. Cohen, Chair Bichotte Hermelyn, and Judge Heela Capell.


A brief background on the nominees’ experience & background

(Left to right) Judge Joanne D. Quiñones, Party Chair Bichotte Hermelyn, Judge Sharon A.B. Clarke.

Judge Heela Capell serves in Kings County Civil Court, and possesses 13 years of combined experience as a judge and court attorney, plus five years of experience as a litigator.

Judge Sharon A.B. Clarke has over 30 years of legal experience; she was elected in 2014 and over the past 9 years has served in Criminal Court, Family and Civil Court prior to being elevated to Acting Justice of the Supreme Court in 2022. Prior to that she served our community in various capacities including Deputy General Counsel of the New York State Division of Human Rights.

Judge Rachel Freier is an Acting Supreme Court Justice; the first Hasidic woman to hold the role since being appointed in January 2023, previously served as Judge for the Kings County Civil Court, and began her journey as a Civil Court Judge in 2016.

Judge Caroline P. Cohen serves as an Acting Judge for the Family Court of the City of New York since being appointed in 2020, was previously elected to the Civil Court in 2019, has vast private sector experience, and started her career serving at the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA).

Judge Saul Stein serves as Judge for the Civil Court of the City of New York. He previously was the Principal Court Attorney for Supreme Court Justice David B. Cohen. He also brings vast private sector and commercial experience to the Courts.

Judge Joanne D. Quiñones serves as Acting Justice of the Supreme Court, Criminal Term, since being appointed in 2021, and was first appointed to the bench in 2010 by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I’m ecstatic to see this historic slate of diverse nominees ascend, and I’m confident Brooklyn’s judicial system will remain in extremely capable hands when the nominees are elected in November,” Bichotte Hermleyn concluded.

The Brooklyn Democratic Party’s District Leaders at the Judicial Convention.
The crowd of judicial delegates at the Convention.

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