New York State Court of Appeals “The State’s Highest Court”

The Historical Society of the New York Courts maintains biographies of all retired and currently sitting Judges of the Court of Appeals, including Chief Judges, since the creation of the Court in 1846.

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Sheila Abdus-Salaam

Sheila Abdus-Salaam

Sheila Abdus-Salaam, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, was born in Washington, D.C. in 1952 and educated in its ...
William Fitch Allen

William Fitch Allen

By 1864, Judge William F. Allen had earned his peers' respect in the form of the Democratic Party's nomination for ...
Charles Andrews

Charles Andrews

Charles Andrews was one of the longest serving judges in the history of the Court of Appeals. At 26, he ...
William Shankland Andrews

William Shankland Andrews

William S. Andrews was the son of Chief Judge Charles Andrews (1827-1918), who served on the Court of Appeals from ...
Fritz Winfred Alexander

Fritz Winfred Alexander, II

Born Carl Bernard Zanders, Jr., in Apopka, Florida, on April 24, 1926, Fritz Winfred Alexander, II was later given the ...
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Edward Theodore Bartlett

Edward Theodore Bartlett

Following one of the most remarkable judiciary races in State history, Edward T. Bartlett was elected Associate Judge of the ...
Willard Bartlett

Willard Bartlett

A man of many interests "from teaching medical jurisprudence to writing literary reviews for a popular New York newspaper" Judge ...
Joseph William Bellacosa

Joseph William Bellacosa

One publication described meeting the Honorable Joseph W. Bellacosa as "finding yourself in the presence of a complete fulfillment of ...
Francis Bergan

Francis Bergan

For anyone who wants to know the history of the Court of Appeals, and the forms that its decisions often ...
Charles David Breitel

Charles David Breitel

Charles Breitel, the 30th chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals was a brilliant, complex, energetic, and ...
Bruce Bromley

Bruce Bromley

Bruce Bromley, one of the most distinguished members of the New York Bar for almost half a century, served on ...
Greene Carrier Bronson

Greene Carrier Bronson

Authoring the Court's inaugural opinion (see Pierce v. Delamater, 1 NY 17 [1847]), Judge Greene Bronson determined that, as a ...
Adrian Paul Burke

Adrian Paul Burke

Adrian Burke was a tall, broad shouldered, imposing man with a ruddy Irish face and piercing blue eyes that often ...
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Anthony Cannataro

Anthony Cannataro

Anthony Cannataro, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, was born in New Jersey in July 1965.  On May 25, ...
Benjamin Nathan Cardozo

Benjamin Nathan Cardozo

Introduction Anyone preparing a portrait of Benjamin Nathan Cardozo would necessarily approach the task with great trepidation. Already there are ...
Emory Albert Chase

Emory Albert Chase

In 1916, Europe was in armed conflict and the United States was poised to enter what would be World War ...
Sanford Elias Church

Sanford Elias Church

This son of a farmer from Albion, New York, having no formal legal education, would live to be the second-longest ...
Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick

Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick

It is safe to say that the life experiences of Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, the first Hispanic and the second woman ...
Frederick Collin

Frederick Collin

In an extraordinary career spanning more than six decades, Judge Frederick Collin devoted himself to the law and to the ...
George Franklin Comstock

George Franklin Comstock

Lawyers who know their way around the books will likely associate the name Comstock with "Comstock's Reports" and with good ...
Albert Conway

Albert Conway

A man whose life and public career spanned World War I, the Great Depression and World War II, Albert Conway ...
Lawrence Henry Cooke

Lawrence Henry Cooke

In 1972, three Republicans won election to the Court of Appeals in the landslide victory of President Richard M. Nixon, ...
Frederick Evan Crane

Frederick Evan Crane

Chief Judge Frederick E. Crane enjoyed a 33-year career as a jurist-22 of those years on the Court of Appeals ...
Leonard Callender Crouch

Leonard Callender Crouch

Judge Leonard C. Crouch's tenure on the Court of Appeals was relatively brief: only four years. Nevertheless, his "opinions as ...
William Herman Cuddeback

William Herman Cuddeback

In looking back on William H. Cuddeback's life, the Court described him as "wise and impartial in decision," with no ...
Edgar M. Cullen

Edgar M. Cullen

In 1913, William Sulzer, then Governor of New York, was put on trial for various charges relating to abuses of ...
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George Franklin Danforth

George Franklin Danforth

To paraphrase President Abraham Lincoln, it is altogether fitting and proper that we find an increased dedication to the cause ...
Henry Ebenezer Davies

Henry Ebenezer Davies

Contested elections resulting in heated litigation may seem to be a recent political phenomena, but a November 1855 election for ...
Hiram Denio

Hiram Denio

In Cron v. Hargro Fabrics (91 NY2d 362, 368 [1998]), the Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff's full "performance ...
Charles Stewart Desmond

Charles Stewart Desmond

Introduction Charles Stewart Desmond served on the Court of Appeals for 26 full years-the second longest tenure of a Judge ...
Janet DiFiore

Janet DiFiore

Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and of the State of New York, was born in 1955 ...
Marvin Rood Dye

Marvin Rood Dye

Judge Marvin Dye was one of the longest living judges to serve on the New York Court of Appeals. Born ...
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Robert Earl

Robert Earl

"Robert Earl, of Herkimer, is the baldest judge on the Court of Appeals bench. He had a wealth of whiskers, ...
Abram Elkus

Abram Elkus

Before he was appointed Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals in 1919-a position he held for only 13 months-Abram ...
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Eugene Fahey

Eugene M. Fahey

Eugene M. Fahey, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, was born in Buffalo, New York, in September 1951. He ...
Paul G. Feinman

Paul G. Feinman

Paul G. Feinman, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, was born in 1960 in Hempstead, New York, the third ...
Edward Ridley Finch

Edward Ridley Finch

Edward Ridley Finch was born in New York City, November 15, 1873, son of Edward Lucius and Anne Ridley (Crane) ...
Francis Miles Finch

Francis Miles Finch

Two years after the close of the Civil War, forty-year-old Francis M. Finch, an Ithaca lawyer, unexpectedly (as he later ...
Charles James Folger

Charles James Folger

Members of the Folger family, including the immortal Benjamin Franklin, were known for their superb intellect. Judge Folger was no ...
Samuel Alfred Foot

Samuel Alfred Foot

The Judge's name is sometimes spelled Foote, as in his Union College records, and other times Foot, as in 5 ...
Sydney Francis Foster

Sydney Francis Foster

In Oliver Goldsmith's "She Stoops to Conquer," Hardcastle observes that "modesty seldom resides in a breast that is not enriched ...
Charles William Froessel

Charles William Froessel

Charles W. Froessel served as an Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals from 1950 until his mandated retirement from ...
Jacob David Fuchsberg

Jacob David Fuchsberg

Jacob David Fuchsberg was born June 14, 1913 on the lower east side of Manhattan. He graduated from New York ...
Stanley Howells Fuld

Stanley Howells Fuld

During his unsurpassed twenty-seven years and eight months as a member of the Court of Appeals-seven years of that as ...
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Domenick Luciano Gabrielli

Domenick Luciano Gabrielli

Judge Domenick Gabrielli was noted for the practicality, clarity, and wisdom of his opinions, and for the compassion and respect ...
Michael J. Garcia

Michael J. Garcia

Michael J. Garcia, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, was born in Brooklyn, in October 1961. On January 20, ...
Addison Gardiner

Addison Gardiner

On July 17, 1876, the New York Times reported on the adamant refusal of retired Court of Appeals Judge Addison ...
James Gibson

James Gibson

The lineage of James Gibson (no middle name - he did not need one) was prophetic. His father was a ...
Victoria Ann Graffeo

Victoria Ann Graffeo

I am authoring my own story because it would be difficult for anyone else to appreciate the extent to which ...
John Clinton Gray

John Clinton Gray

Although he served a remarkable 26 years on the Court of Appeals, Judge John Clinton Gray is perhaps best remembered ...
Martin Grover

Martin Grover

In his 1897 volume Celebrated Trials, Henry Lauren Clinton describes Martin Grover as unique among the judges who have sat ...
Irving Goodwin Vann

Irving Goodwin Vann

"The law of truth was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found in his lips,"1 so said the Court ...
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Albert Haight

Albert Haight

In Alden Chester's 1925 work, Courts and Lawyers of New York: A History, Chester states that Judge Albert Haight's length ...
Caitlin J. Halligan

Caitlin J. Halligan

Caitlin J. Halligan, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, was born in Xenia, Ohio in December 1966. In April ...
Stewart F. Hancock

Stewart Freeborn Hancock, Jr.

Hancocks are known for leaving their mark on a page. Stewart F. Hancock, Jr.-who can trace back in his family ...
Samuel Hand

Samuel Hand

Though his tenure on the Court of Appeals was brief, Judge Samuel Hand's place in the history of the law ...
Frank Harris Hiscock

Frank Harris Hiscock

On October 22, 1879, Frank Hiscock and Mary Elizabeth Barnes were married at the Barnes Homestead, 930 James Street in ...
John W. Hogan

John W. Hogan

When Alfred E. Smith was elected Governor of New York in 1919, he asked his friend Judge John W. Hogan ...
William Butler Hornblower

William Butler Hornblower

On February 2, 1914, Governor Martin H. Glynn made two nominations to the Court of Appeals.1 No one could have ...
Irving G. Hubbs

Irving G. Hubbs

In 1937, Judge Irving Hubbs, then in his eighth year as a judge of the Court of Appeals, made one ...
Ward Hunt

Ward Hunt

Along with Judges Benjamin Cardozo and Rufus Peckham Jr., Judge Ward Hunt has the distinction of having been a judge ...
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Matthew Joseph Jasen

Matthew Joseph Jasen

Judge Matthew J. Jasen served as an associate judge of the New York State Court of Appeals for eighteen years ...
Freeborn Garrettson Jewett

Freeborn Garrettson Jewett

There is always something good about being a first. For Freeborn Garrettson Jewett, in a long list of great lifetime ...
Alexander Smith Johnson

Alexander Smith Johnson

Alexander Bryan Johnson, a philosopher and author, dedicated one of his books to New York State Court of Appeals Judge ...
Hugh Richard Jones

Hugh Richard Jones

Prologue: The Early Years Judge Hugh R. Jones fondly recalled his pre-Court years as "prologue" and his post-Court years as ...
Theodore T. Jones

Theodore T. Jones, Jr.

Theodore Theopolis Jones, Jr. was the fourth African American appointed to serve on New York State's highest court. He was ...
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Judith Smith Kaye

Judith Smith Kaye

This biography was prepared in 2007, and does not include Judge Kaye's retirement or life after leaving the bench. In ...
Kenneth Barnard Keating

Kenneth Barnard Keating

The life of Kenneth Barnard Keating-as teacher, lawyer, soldier, legislator, judge, and diplomat-spanned the first 75 years of the Twentieth ...
Henry Theodore Kellogg

Henry Theodore Kellogg

Henry Theodore Kellogg was a distinguished son of Northern New York who continued a family legacy on the bench. Born ...
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Irving Lehman

Irving Lehman

"In a State that has given America many of its greatest jurists, none stood higher than Irving Lehman, Chief Judge ...
Howard Arnold Levine

Howard Arnold Levine

An independent thinker, a common sense approach and a devoted family man - these descriptions show three of the most ...
Edmund Harris Lewis

Edmund Harris Lewis

But for a brief period during World War I when, commissioned as a major in the United States Army Judge ...
Jonathan Lippman

Jonathan Lippman

This biography was prepared in 2012 and does not include Judge Lippman's final years as Chief Judge or his life ...
John A. Lott

John A. Lott

Although John A.1 Lott served as a constitutional member of the Court of Appeals for only six full months in ...
John Thomas Loughran

John Thomas Loughran

"He was a most uncommon man who was friend to the common man, as, on the other hand, those who ...
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Cleora Eaton Martin

Celora Eaton Martin

After Judge Celora E. Martin secured the Republican nomination for Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, the New York ...
Charles Mason

Charles Mason

Oneida County had been the birthplace or residence of a number of judges in the early years of the Court ...
Isaac Horton Maynard

Issac Horton Maynard

Whatever his gifts as a judge, history remembers Isaac Horton Maynard more for the questionable conduct that allegedly won him ...
Chester Bentine McLaughlin

Chester Bentine McLaughlin

As reported in The Adirondack Record-Elizabethtown Post (Au Sable Forks, Essex County, N.Y.), Judge Chester McLaughlin was a "man of ...
George Zerdin Medalie

George Zerdin Medalie

There have always been cops and robbers, and good guys and bad guys, but New York City in the 1920s ...
Bernard Stern Meyer

Bernard Stern Meyer

On September 9, 1971, more than 1,000 inmates rioted at Attica State Correctional Facility in Western New York. A guard ...
Nathan Louis Miller

Nathan Louis Miller

Nathan L. Miller won his first court case in his early twenties, before he was even admitted to the bar ...
Theodore Miller

Theodore Miller

Theodore Miller's legal career spanned almost 50 years and in that time he became a respected jurist who was fondly ...
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Denis O'Brien

Denis O’Brien

Denis O'Brien would likely never have existed but for his parents' early departure from County Clare, Ireland. They moved to ...
John Francis O'Brien

John Francis O’Brien

John Francis O'Brien, son of former Court of Appeals Judge Denis O'Brien and chief of the appellate bureau of the ...
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Alton Brooks Parker

Alton Brooks Parker

Only one Court of Appeals Judge has ever run for President of the United States. He lost in a landslide ...
Rufus W. Peckham

Rufus W. Peckham, Jr.

Though Rufus W. Peckham, Jr. spent nine years on the New York State Court of Appeals, his most famous writing ...
Rufus W. Peckham

Rufus W. Peckham, Sr.

Rufus Wheeler Peckham, Sr., though a distinguished politician, lawyer, and jurist, may be most best known for how he died ...
Eugene F. Pigott

Eugene F. Pigott, Jr.

Eugene F. Pigott, Jr., Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, was born in Rochester, New York, in September 1946 ...
John Kilham Porter

John Kilham Porter

On September 19, 1881, President James A. Garfield died of an assassin's bullet. His last words were "My work is ...
Cuthbert Winfred Pound

Cuthbert Winfred Pound

"Workmen's compensation" was regarded by many as a radical idea in 1910. The country's first law requiring employers to compensate ...
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Samuel Rabin

Samuel Rabin

For Judge Samuel Rabin, the law was always about people. Sam Rabin was born in New York City on October ...
Charles Anthony Rapallo

Charles Anthony Rapallo

Law is educated Justice.1 Charles A. Rapallo was born on September 15, 1823 in New York City, the son of ...
Susan Phillips Read

Susan Phillips Read

Susan Phillips Read was born in 1947 in Gallipolis, Ohio, the second of the three daughters of Gomer W. Phillips, ...
Harlan Watson Rippey

Harlan Watson Rippey

A child of pioneer lineage, Judge Harlan Rippey was raised in an austere and frugal environment typical of a devout ...
Jenny Rivera

Jenny Rivera

Jenny Rivera was nominated by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for the New York State Court of Appeals and the New ...
Albert Martin Rosenblatt

Albert Martin Rosenblatt

Albert M. Rosenblatt, referred to as a "Renaissance Man" by many who know of his professional, intellectual, and athletic pursuits, ...
William Crawford Ruger

William Crawford Ruger

Early Years The man who served as the seventeenth Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals1 was ...
Charles Herman Ruggles

Charles Herman Ruggles

Judge Charles Ruggles has a special place in this writer's heart because he was at the center of an adventure ...
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John Francis Scileppi

John Francis Scileppi

Judge John Scileppi's long life epitomized the American Dream at its twentieth century best. His parents, Ignazio and Nunzia (née ...
Samuel Seabury

Samuel Seabury

From 1930 through 1932, Samuel Seabury turned away from his flourishing law practice in New York City to lead an ...
Charles Brown Sears

Charles Brown Sears

Judge Charles Brown Sears was born in Brooklyn on October 16, 1870 to Hector and Leora C. Brown Sears. His ...
Henry Rogers Selden

Henry Rogers Selden

Described by a contemporary historian1 as one of the most able and accomplished judges of the New York Court of ...
Samuel Lee Selden

Samuel Lee Selden

There exists a manuscript, written in 1851 on pale blue foolscap, entitled "Hon. Samuel Lee Selden: Narrative of His Life."1 ...
Richard Duncan Simons

Richard Duncan Simons

Richard D. Simons arrived at the Court of Appeals in January 1983 as the Court was undergoing one of the ...
Madeline Singas

Madeline Singas

Madeline Singas, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, was born in 1966. The daughter of Greek immigrants, she was ...
George Bundy Smith

George Bundy Smith

George Bundy Smith, the 101st Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, is only the third African American ever appointed ...
Robert Sherlock Smith

Robert Sherlock Smith

Robert Smith's nomination to the New York State Court of Appeals in November 2003 came as a shock to many ...
Leslie E. Stein

Leslie E. Stein

Leslie E. Stein was born in New York, New York in 1956. She received her B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from ...
Harold Arnoldus Stevens

Harold Arnoldus Stevens

In 1926, an African-American woman and her two brothers, accused of killing a Sheriff, were dragged from a South Carolina ...
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Thomas Day Thacher

Thomas Day Thacher

During the first half of the 20th century, there was concentrated in New York City a group of lawyers whose ...
Vito Joseph Titone

Vito Joseph Titone

Judge Vito J. Titone was a man of contradictions. He relished traditions, but embraced change. He was always practical in ...
Benjamin Franklin Tracy

Benjamin Franklin Tracy

Benjamin Franklin Tracy was a member of the Court of Appeals for only one year, and is better known as ...
Shirley Troutman

Shirley Troutman

Shirley Troutman, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, was born in Fort Valley, Georgia. She was raised in Buffalo, ...
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John Van Voorhis

John Van Voorhis

Judge Van Voorhis wrote well over a thousand formal legal opinions, including his dissents, and participated in thousands of cases ...
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Sol Wachtler

Sol Wachtler

Sol Wachtler was born on April 29, 1930, the second son of traveling auctioneer Philip Wachtler and his wife Fay ...
William Edward Werner

William Edward Werner

In the annals of criminal law, few decisions have been as important and enduring as People v. Molineux (168 NY ...
Richard Carl Wesley

Richard Carl Wesley

Judge Wesley served on the New York Court of Appeals for six years, but has served as a judge - ...
Rowan D. Wilson

Rowan D. Wilson

Rowan D. Wilson, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, was born in Pomona, California in 1960, and grew up ...
Lewis Bartholomew Woodruff

Lewis Bartholomew Woodruff

Although serving on the Court of Appeals only from January 1868 until the end of 1869, Judge Woodruff was a ...
William B. Wright

William B. Wright

In a memorial address honoring Judge William B. Wright, poet and lawyer Alfred B. Street said of him: "His taste ...

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