There Indian-American judges, all of whom are women, were among 46 judges appointed and reappointed in civil, criminal and family courts of the New York State Unified Court System by Mayor Bill de Blasio on January 31.
The three Indian-American judges are: Judge Archana Rao, who was appointed to Civil Court and has been assigned to Criminal Court; Judge Raja Rajeswari was appointed as a Criminal Court Judge in April 2015 and Judge Deepa Ambekar who was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge 2018 and has been serving in Criminal Court.
“An impartial justice system is essential to building a fairer city for all. The thirteen judges I am appointing, and the thirty-three I am welcoming back, will represent the people of our city with fair and effective judicial oversight of our courts,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
The appointments include four appointments and two reappointments to Family Court; nine appointments and nineteen reappointments to Criminal Court; and nine appointments and three reappointments to Civil Court.
The judges appointed or reappointed to Civil Court sit in either Criminal or Family Court. The appointments were effective from January.
Deepa Ambekar, who served with the New York City Council as a Senior Legislative Attorney and Counsel to the Committee on Public Safety and prior to that, as a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Division, is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received her J.D. from Rutgers Law School.
In an earlier interview with India Abroad late last year when she was designated interim Civil Court judge, Ambekar said she did not think of becoming a judge until a few years ago when a senior attorney in her law firm applied for a judgeship.
“It was a happenstance that when he told me about his application, I thought maybe this is also an achievable goal that I can pursue and that is how I came to submit 100-page application for judgeship after I completed the mandatory 10 years in the profession as criminal defense attorney,” Ambekar, 42, said in the interview with this correspondent.
She said each judge bring different skills to the table. “I think my upbringing gives me a different perspective. Being a minority, being Asian, being the child of an immigrant and being a young woman on the bench bring influences and a perspective that are less common. I think I will be able to bring that unique perspective to the bench,” she had told India Abroad.
Judge Archana Rao spent her entire career with the New York County District Attorney’s Office working in several bureaus during her 17-year tenure there. She last served as Bureau Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau. Judge Rao is a graduate of Vassar College and Fordham University School of Law. She was appointed to Civil Court and has been assigned to Criminal Court.
Chennai-born Judge Raja Rajeswari was appointed as a Criminal Court Judge in April 2015. She was a career prosecutor for 16 years with the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office. Judge Rajeswari is a graduate of CUNY College of Staten Island and received her law degree from Brooklyn Law School.