Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commision - Promoting Racial and Ethical Fairness in the Courts

In This Issue


Houleye SY Court Interpreter

Nigerian Lawyers Assn. Awards

  Hispanic Heritage Awards Dinner

  Cervantes Society Awards  

  Becoming a Judge

  Second NY Listening Conference  

  Amistad Award Ceremony

  Just the Beginning Conference  

Commission Spotlight on Houleye Sy
Senior Court Interpreter


Senior Court Interpreter Houleye Sy


Houleye Sy started her career with the New York State Unified Court System in December 2008 as a French, Fulani and Wolof Per Diem Interpreter. Dreams do come true; she always wanted to become an interpreter since childhood. Being from France and born from Senegalese parents, languages have always been part of her life. Her major at the University of Orlèans was LEA (Applied Foreign Languages) where she studied English and Spanish.

The year 2009 proved to be a turning point, she was gaining experience throughout the courts, her calendar was filling up at a fast pace. In 2010 is when a position opened up in the languages in which she is proficient, she joined the interpreter’s staff at New York City Criminal Court. This opportunity has been a blessing for her and her family.

After five years of loyal service to the court, she was appointed to the position of Senior Court Interpreter, on May 5th, (Cinco de Mayo!). Her myriad responsibilities include supervising a staff of twenty interpreters, scheduling and providing oversight for the Per Diem Interpreters that are called on a daily basis. She ensures that all the courtrooms have adequate language access required by the courts. It is important to note that the Unified Court System recognizes a strong work ethic and excellence.

Houleye Sy embraces the endless possibilities available in the court system. She proudly shares with her sons and daughters, that where you are from does not matter, but what matters is how you apply yourself in life.


Hispanic Heritage Awards Dinner


Joyce Y. Hartsfield, Hon. Joanne Quiñones, Hon. Sallie Manzanet Daniels, Hon. Luis A. Gonzalez, Hon. Wilma Guzman


The Latino Judges Association hosted the Hispanic Heritage Awards Dinner on Friday, October 28, 2016, at the New York City Bar Association. The mistress of ceremonies was the Honorable Wilma Guzman, President of the Latino Judges Association, and the invocation was provided by the Honorable Roland T. Acosta, Associate Judge, Appellate Division, First Department. The Hon. John Carro Award for Judicial Excellence was presented to the Hon. Sallie Manzanet-Daniels; the Hon. Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Hon. Gloria Sosa-Lintner; and the Hon. Frank Torres Award for Commitment to Diversity was presented to the law firm of Pacheco & Lugo, PLLC.


Hon. Javier Vargas, Hon. Sallie Manzanet-Daniels, Betty Lugo, Hon. Gloria Sosa-Lintner, Hon. Wilma Guzman, Carmen A. Pacheco, Hon. Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick


Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Judge Seminar
Suffolk County


On September 28, 2016, the Commission co-sponsored the “Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Judge” seminar at the Suffolk County Bar Association. The seminar was well attended; the speakers and moderators provided insightful and practical information. The seminar is part of the Commission’s statewide initiative to improve diversity on the bench and has previously been co-sponsored in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany.

The seminar in Suffolk County was also co-sponsored by the Suffolk County Bar Association, Amistad Black Bar Association, Suffolk County Women’s Bar Association and the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association. The planning committee was comprised of members from the sponsoring organizations which included Adrienne Williams, Victoria Gumbs Moore, Jane LaCova, Megan Tomlin, and Frank Torres.

Opening remarks were provided by John R. Calcagni, President of the Suffolk County Bar Association, Harry Tilis, Dean of Suffolk Academy of Law, Hon. C. Randall Hinrichs, Administrative Judge of the 10th Judicial District, and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore via video.

The panel discussions consisted of topics ranging from Securing a Nomination in Supreme Court, Election Law Overview & Related Ethical Requirements, the Evaluation Process, Making the Ballot in City, County, and Family Courts, and the Appointment Process for New York State Court of Claims and Federal Court.


Securing the Nomination in Supreme Court Part B


Hon. C. Randall Hinrichs; Hon. William G. Ford, New York State Supreme Court Justice; Hon. John Jay LaValle, Chairman of the Republican Party for Suffolk County; Frank Torres, President, Long Island Hispanic Bar Association


Election Law Overview & Related Ethical Requirements


Hon. Edward P. Borrelli, Special Counsel, NYS Unified Court System, Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics; Joshua A. Price, Senior Assistant Commissioner, Republican Board of Elections; Paul Kenny, Chief Clerk, Appellate Term, Second Department; Hon. Derrick Robinson, Acting County Court Judge, Former Chair of the Suffolk County Judicial Screening Committee


Appointment Process for New York State Court

of Claims and For Federal Magistrate Judges

and District Court Judges


Hon. Cheryl A. Joseph, Court of Claim Acting Supreme; Hon. Joseph F. Bianco, United States, District Court, Eastern District of New York; Linda Morrone, President, Suffolk County Women’s Bar Association


Making the Ballot in City, County and Family Courts


Hon. Bernard Cheng, Suffolk County Family Court Judge; Hon. Patricia Romeo, Town Justice of Southampton, New York; Hon. Helen Voutsinas, District Court Nassau County; Hon. Andrea Harum Schiavoni, Town Justice of Southampton, New York; Hon. Toni A. Bean, District Court Judge County Court; Hon. Philip Goglas, Family Court Judge, County Court Judge at the podium


Amistad Long Island Black Bar Association Awards dinner


On October 27, 2016, the Amistad Long Island Black Bar Association held their 20th Anniversary Barrister Ball honoring David A. Bythewood, Commissioner of the Board of Zoning Appeals for the City of Long Beach, with the Trailblazer Award and Sarah Jane LaCova, Executive Director of the Suffolk County Bar Association, with the Diversity Award. Two law students received scholarships: Lasheca Lewis of Touro Law and Kandice McLeod of Hofstra Law.


Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages; Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright; District Court Judge Derrick Robinson; Sarah Jane LaCova; J. Stewart Moore, Amistad Executive Director; David Bythewood; Ghenya Grant.; Amistad President Maxine Broderick; Victoria Gumbs Moore; Cherice Vanderhall,; Kevin Satterfield; Dawn A. Lott


Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages, David Bythewood, Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Touro Law Student Scholarship Recipient Lasheca Lewis, and Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright


Nigerian Lawyers Association
Annual Merit Awards


Commission member Hon. George Daniels (fourth from left) with members of Nigerian Lawyers Association and other honorees


The Nigerian Lawyers Association held its Annual Merit Awards on October 29, 2016. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Former President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Law and Justice Award was awarded to Franklin H. Williams Commission member, Hon. George B. Daniels, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York; the Rising Star Award to Conway Ekpo, In-house Counsel at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deborah Kemi Martin, litigator at Dechert; the Exemplary Service Award to John Edozie, Founder and Partner of Madu, Edozie & Madu, P.C.; the Trailblazer Star Award to Obiamaka P. Madubuko, Grennberg Traurig; the Distinguished Service Award to Olamike Alabi, District Leader, 57th A.D.; the 2016 Merit Award to Inspector Olufunmilola Obe, of the NYPD.


Cervantes Society Twenty First Annual Awards Ceremony


On October 25, 2016, the Cervantes held their 21st Annual Awards Ceremony in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The honorees included Hon. Dora L. Irizarry, Chief Judge of the United States Federal Court, Eastern District and Amarfi Collado, a college student at St. Joseph College, “who defied the odds” and pursued her dream of becoming a lawyer. Honorable Luis A. Gonzalez, former Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department received special recognition for his contributions throughout his career.


Anthony Miranda, Hon. Wilma Guzman, Hon. Luis A. Gonzalez, Hon. Betty Lugo, Major Luz Bryan, Hon. Francois Rivera


Amarfi Collado, Hon. Luis A. Gonzalez, Hon. Dora L. Irizarry, Grace Machuka at podium, Court Officer Edwin Colon


Dance Performance by Elite Stars Dance Academy, Bronx, New York


The Second New York
Listening Conference


From September 29-30, 2016, the Second New York State Listening Conference, entitled “Working Towards Solutions,” occurred in Albany, New York. The conference was co-sponsored by the New York Federal-State-Tribal Courts & Indian Nations Justice Forum, The New York State Judicial Institute, and The Western Community Policing Institute. The conference affords an opportunity to discuss issues of relevance to the Native American communities in New York State.

Opening remarks were given by the Hon. Marcy Kahn, Chair of the New York Tribal Courts Committee, the Hon. Carrie E. Garrow, Chief Judge, Saint Regis Mohawks Tribe and Native Co-facilitator of the New York Federal State Tribal Courts & Indian Nations Justice Forum, and the Hon. Juanita Bing Newton, Dean, New York State Judicial Institute.

The two-day seminar examined federal and local issues pertaining to Native American reservations, focusing on the Tribal Law and Order Act, the Violence Against Women Act (VAMA), Recognition of a Tribal Nation Judgments, Orders and Official Actions, family law issues, grave repatriation, and included a roundtable dscussion on local justice court issues.


Family Law Issues: Best Interest of the Indian Child


Frieda Jacques, Home/School Liaison, Onondaga Nation; Hon. Edwina Richardson-Mendelson, New York Supreme Court, Criminal Term and Family Court Judge; Hon. Carrie E. Garrow, Chief Judge, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and Native Co-facilitator, NY Federal-State-Tribal Courts & Indian Nations Justice Reform; Hon. Sharon Townsend, Justice, New York Supreme Court, Erie County, and Vice-Chair of the New York Tribal Courts Committee (moderator)


Local Justice Court Issues

Roundtable Native Perspectives


Nancy Sunukjan Esq., Director, Office of Court Administration Justice Court Support and Special Counsel to Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Courts Outside of New York City; Mathew Chiver, Special Counsel, Town and Village Courts; Hon. Peter J. Herne, Former Chief Judge, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe; Hon. Marcy L. Kahn, Associate Justice, Appellate Division, New York Supreme Court, and Chair of the New York Tribal Courts Committee; Hon. Michael J. Coccoma, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for the Courts Outside New York City (Moderator); Aaron Arnold, Director, Treatment Court Programs and Tribal Exchange, Center for Court Innovation; Hon. Robert Main, Acting Justice, New York Supreme Court, Franklin County; Curtis Smith, Justice, Bombay Town Court; Terence Durant, Justice, Bombay Town Court


The Shako:wi Dance Troop led by Singer Wes Halsey, Onieda- Wolf Clan Appearing courtesy of the Oneida Indian Nation of New York


Just the Beginning -
A Pipeline Organization


Just the Beginning - A Pipeline Organization held their 11th Biennial and 24th Anniversary Just the Beginning Conference from September 15th- September 18th in New York City. The conference title was “Equal Justice Under the Law: Celebrating the Legacy of Judge Constance Baker Motley”. Although the conference was a celebration of the life of Constance Baker Motley, the conference also focused on the various issues faced by lawyers of color in the legal community, the law schools and the challenges of increasing diversity in the profession.

A CLE panel entitled, “General Counsel: Who Hires, Who Fires, Who Determines Diversity in Selection of Outside Counsel, and How is that Power Wielded?” was comprised of the following attorneys:

1. Alex Dimitrief, Senior VP and General Counsel of General Electric;

2. Kimberly Harris, Executive VP and General Counsel of NBC Universal;

3. Sandra Phillips, Group VP, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel, Toyota Motor North America;

4. Sandra Leung, Executive VP and General Counsel of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.

The panel discussed the need of corporations to voice their concerns regarding diversity in law firms, while also taking steps to ensure that in-house counsel reflects a wide range of groups and backgrounds. The panel discussed the challenges in hiring outside counsel that understands the importance of diversity in order to deliver quality legal services. In addition, the materials referenced a law review article “Implicit Bias and the Legal Profession’s Diversity Crisis: A Call for Self-Reflection”, by Nicole E. Negowetti of the Nevada Law Journal.

On the final day of the program, high school and college students attended sessions about law school and the law school experience. Law students attended sessions on successful networking and the activities necessary to chart a successful career as an attorney. Meeting Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the highlight of the day for all of the students.

The conference concluded with an awards dinner where Vernon Jordan was the keynote speaker and received the Constance Baker Motley Award.


Legal Education and the Law School of 2016: Marketplace Challenges to Diversity.

What happens to Students of Color


Standing – Hon. Harry T. Edwards, Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit (Moderator) Dean Matt Diller, Fordham Law School; Dean Mary Lu Bilek, CUNY School of Law; Dean Nicholas W. Allard, Brooklyn Law School; Dean Melanie Leslie, Cardozo Law School; Dean Anthony W. Crowell, New York Law School; Dean Gillian Lester, Columbia Law School; Dean Trevor Morrison, New York University School of Law


Glass Ceilings and Sliding Glass;

What Must Women and Minorities do to succeed

in the Next Frontier of Equal Justice”


Michelle Coleman Mayes, Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, The New York Public Library; Michele Roberts, Executive Director, National Basketball Players Association; Carol Robles-Roman, President & CEO, Legal Momentum, The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund; Debra Wong Yang, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and former U.S. Attorney, Central Dist. CA; Rhonda Joy McLean, Deputy General Counsel, Time, Inc.


Re-enactment of a Trial: Constance Baker Motley, James Meredith, and the University of Mississippi


Kathy Hirata Chin, Hon. Denny Chin (Narrators), Hon. Ann Claire Williams played Constance Baker Motley, Joel Motley, Jr. played Derrick A. Bell; John S. Siffert played Dugas Shands

Office of Court Administration Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission  25 Beaver Street, Room 861 • New York, New York 10004 Commission MembersHon. Richard B. Lowe, ChairHon. Troy K. Webber, 1st Vice Chair Sandra Rivera, Esq, 2nd Vice Chair Hon. Vanessa Bogan T. Andrew Brown, Esq. Hon. George B. Daniels Hon. Kathie Davidson Linda Dunlap-Miller, J.D., MSW Lenora B. Foote, Esq.
Hon. Craig D. Hannah Nadine C. Johnson, Esq. Hon. Barbara R. Kapnick Paul Kenny, Esq. Lenore Kramer, Esq. Hon. Yvonne lewisHon. Doris Ling-Cohan Lieutenant Clemont Mack Hon. Stephen T. Miller Hon. Eduardo Padro Hon. Joanne D. Quiñones Hon. Richard Rivera Hon. Robert E. Torres Adrienne Williams, Esq.Hon. Rose H. Sconiers, Chair Emeritus Hon. Lewis L. Douglass, Chair Emeritus Joyce Y. Hartsfield, Executive Director Karlene Dennis, Associate Counsel