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

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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 ...
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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 ...
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Charles Andrews

Charles Andrews

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

Willard Bartlett

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

Francis Bergan

For anyone who wants to know the history of the Court of Appeals, and the forms that its decisions often ...
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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 ...
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Bruce Bromley

Bruce Bromley

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

Frederick Collin

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

Albert Conway

A man whose life and public career spanned World War I, the Great Depression and World War II, Albert Conway ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Janet DiFiore

Janet DiFiore

Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and of the State of New York, was born in 1955 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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) ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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Addison Gardiner

Addison Gardiner

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

James Gibson

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

Martin Grover

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

In 2009 the Society produced a video of personal recollections in honor of Judge Kaye upon her retirement from the ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Jonathan Lippman

Jonathan Lippman

In New York, for well more than a decade, we have taken the view that the court system has a ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Charles Mason

Charles Mason

Oneida County had been the birthplace or residence of a number of judges in the early years of the Court ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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Jenny Rivera

Jenny Rivera

Jenny Rivera was nominated by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for the New York State Court of Appeals and the New ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Samuel Seabury

Samuel Seabury

From 1930 through 1932, Samuel Seabury turned away from his flourishing law practice in New York City to lead an ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 - ...
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Rowan D. Wilson

Rowan D. Wilson

Rowan D. Wilson, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, was born in Pomona, California in 1960, and grew up ...
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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 ...
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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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