Justice Esther “Micky” Morgenstern announces retirement from Brooklyn Supreme Court
State Supreme Court Justice Esther “Micky” Morgenstern announced on Wednesday her retirement effective at the end of December 2023. Her departure will conclude a 28-year tenure on the bench and an additional decade of service as principal law clerk to another Supreme Court Justice.
“I am so thankful for the 28 years I have spent on the bench, working to ensure that the justice system works for all New Yorkers,” Justice Morgenstern said. “I’m excited to take on my next adventure, where I will continue to fight for those values.”
Morgenstern’s influence is perhaps most visible in the creation and operation of the Kings County Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) Court, established in 2006. The court, one of the busiest of its kind in the state, employs a “one family-one judge” model, which allows for criminal, family, and matrimonial matters involving domestic violence to be consolidated before a single judge.
This approach has resulted in several advantages, such as reduced court appearances for litigants, more consistent and effective decision-making, and increased offender accountability. Moreover, it has facilitated greater access to a range of integrated services while safeguarding the rights of each party involved. In 2017 alone, the Kings County IDV Court oversaw more than 1,500 cases involving more than 200 new families.
Morgenstern and her staff underwent extensive training in the dynamics of domestic violence, working in close collaboration with community stakeholders like the New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, the Brooklyn Family Justice Center, and various legal and social service agencies.
Their work has been recognized nationally — the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women designated the court a National Mentor Court, a platform that allowed for the sharing of best practices with court personnel and stakeholders across the U.S. and 10 other countries.
The court’s reputation for excellence has made it a focal point for discussions and training sessions concerning the justice system’s response to domestic violence. Most recently, Morgenstern organized a Judicial Engagement Conference, a forum that sparked constructive dialogue on the current state of domestic violence interventions and potential areas for improvement.
As the former president of the Supreme Court Judges Association of the City of New York, Morgenstern’s influence extends beyond Kings County. Her “best practices” have been implemented statewide, changing the landscape of domestic violence intervention in all of New York’s 62 counties.
Though Morgenstern looks ahead to a new chapter, her enduring contributions to the field of domestic violence and the justice system at large remain significant.
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