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Benchmarks: Journal of the New York State Unified Court System

Summer 2006

2006 Law Day Theme Celebrates Separation of Powers

Law Day 2006From left to right: Frank Pastore, Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, Elizabeth A. Taylor, Kimberly Kozlowski, Anthony Jimenez, Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, Ellen Mathews. Photo: Colleen Brescia

CHIEF JUDGE JUDITH S. KAYE, CHIEF Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and then-president of the New York State Bar Association, A. Vincent Buzard, celebrated Law Day on the steps of the Court of Appeals on May 1 along with the six current associate judges and several former members of the court.

Since 1958, Law Day has been celebrated nationwide each year to remind Americans of how the rule of law helps make democracy possible. This year’s theme was “Liberty Under Law: Separate Branches, Balanced Powers,” and Judge Kaye reminded the crowd in front of Court of Appeals Hall that “judicial independence has been a cornerstone of American government from this nation’s very beginnings.”

“In Alexander Hamilton’s words, ‘there is no liberty, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers. The complete independence of the courts is . . . essential,’” said Judge Kaye. “[A]n independent judiciary has the competence and the courage to hew to the requirements of the law, even in the face of controversy and criticism and outright condemnation.”

Attorney General Spitzer spoke about the challenge of applying the Constitution’s rights and safeguards in the 21st century and his belief in an “evolving Constitution.”

Buzard noted the need to be vigilant in protecting the independence of the judiciary. He took the opportunity to urge the legislature to raise the salary of state judges, whose last increase was in 1999, and to pass Judge Kaye’s quadrennial commission proposal to ensure regular cost-of-living increases for judges and officials in the executive and legislative branches.

As is the custom on Law Day, Judge Lippman presented the following annual Merit Performance Awards, the highest honors given to court employees. In addition to the four awarded each year, a special fifth award was given posthumously to a longtime clerk of the Court of Appeals.

Superior Work Performance: Kimberly Kozlowski, Principal Court Analyst, Onondaga County Drug Court. As the court’s program coordinator, Kozlowski is “the heart and soul” of the court, overseeing day-to-day operations. She is also responsible for the Family Treatment Court and is involved with the state and national drug court training institutes.

Outstanding Educational Efforts: Elizabeth A. Taylor, Esq., Principal Law Clerk, Bronx County Supreme Court. Taylor started a program that provides inner-city youngsters with positive exposure to the judicial system and career options in the legal field. In two years, the program has grown sevenfold, this year attracting some 900 students.

Community Service and Humanitarian Pursuits: Anthony Jimenez, Management Analyst, Nassau County Supreme Court. In addition to his day job, Jimenez is a certified emergency medical technician and a council member in his hometown of Glen Cove. He is involved in numerous youth activities in his community.

Heroism: Frank Pastore, Senior Court Officer, Queens County Supreme Court. Officer Pastore came to the aid of a woman being beaten during a carjacking outside the courthouse. Thanks to his quick action, the victim sustained only minor injuries and the assailant was apprehended.

In Recognition of Exemplary Service and Dedication: John J. Mathews, Esq. Consultation Clerk, Court of Appeals. Mathews began his legendary Court of Appeals career in 1948 as a law clerk under Judge Charles S. Desmond. He later became the court’s consultation clerk, reviewing every draft and final opinion in cases on appeal, and every internal report on motions and appeals filed in the court. In over 40 years with the court, he became its institutional memory. Mathews, who died on April 7, 2006, served five chief judges, 32 associate judges and five clerks of the court. The award was accepted by his daughter, Ellen Mathews.

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On-Line Access to Court Records Tested  2006 Law Day  Court of Appeals Decides Same-Sex Marriage & Depraved Indifference Cases  A Year As COSCA’s President  For the Record  Court Clerks:Unsung Heroes of the Courthouse  New Uncontested Divorce Packets  The Courts Closest to the People:The Town & Village Courts  City, Town & Village Resource Center  Justice Courts Action Plan  Improvements in Interpreting Services  UCS Technology Update  Report Calls for Overhaul of the Indigent Defense System  Judicial Association Spotlight  Historic New York State Courthouses and Trials  Did You Know?  Judicial Institute Highlights  JI Hosts Voter Education Symposium


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