The “American Dream” is alive and well. With your support, we can make history together. If elected, I will be the first Muslim born Judge to be elected in New York County! I am honored to be the first but I certainly don’t want to be the last. The need for diversity of the bench is necessary for the integrity of the judiciary.
I have already made history in 2018! I was found “Most Highly Qualified” by all three screening committees held in New York County – the first time that has ever happened! I was also found “Most Highly Qualified” by the 2016 Independent Screening Committee.
My path to the bench was a long journey. My “American Dream” started when my family of nine immigrated to the United States from Guyana, South America. Growing up, my family was poor, but we were grateful for the opportunity to pursue a better life. I grew up in the South Bronx, and my family received public benefits which included food stamps and housing assistance.
We struggled but my parents would tell us that education and sacrifice will get us to the “American Dream.” My six siblings and I have followed that recipe for success. I’m proud to say that my siblings have accomplished the following: we have two doctors in the family (a heart surgeon and pediatrician); two nurses; a banker; my kid brother who has the best job in the world – he works for the New York Yankees and with your help, we will add Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York to that list!
The lessons I have learned from my humble beginnings have made me devote my career to public service. My experience as a government attorney has molded my knowledge for a career on the bench. My legal career began in 2001 when I was hired as a staff attorney for the Administration for Children’s Services.
I then became an Assistant Corporation Counsel with the New York City Law Department. My position of Assistant Corporation Counsel taught me the complex and demanding world of Juvenile Delinquency practice. I started in the Bronx division where I prosecuted a range of cases from misdemeanors to serious felony cases. Then my practice grew as I was appointed to the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit, where I was solely responsible for the prosecution of all sex crimes in New York County. I firmly believe that my time in the Law Department prepared me for the task of being a Judge. It taught me to be understanding and firm, but at the same time flexible. Most of all, it taught me to make compassionate, impartial, and intelligent decisions.
My career in private practice also reflects my commitment to public service. I’m a public defender in Family and Criminal Courts. I accept assignments of cases for indigent litigants. I believe that people deserve quality representation regardless of the ability to pay.
Further, my work outside of courtroom demonstrates my preparedness for the bench. My current position as an Adjunct Professor at the Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. I teach Family Law to Master’s level students in Mental Health Counseling, has provided a nonconventional avenue for understanding this complex area of law. A successful judge must often undertake the role of an educator, which is why I believe that this experience as a professor has further prepared me for a career on the bench.
I am also extremely proud of my work as Chairman of Manhattan Community Board 12 (Washington Heights & Inwood). Serving as the Chairman provides me with the opportunity to interact with our community and solve simple and complex issues facing our residents. I am also on the Board of Directors of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ), the Acacia Network and the Community League of the Heights (CLOTH).
I firmly believe that Judges are public servants who are tasked with serving our communities. The combination of my work experience and community services demonstrate my understanding of what it takes to be a successful Judge. I look forward to your support!
Ariel spent his first few years in the legal profession representing working class folks dividing their property, resolving custody and child support matters, and handling domestic violence issues.
Since that time, he has dedicated his career to public service. In 2006, Ariel joined the pool of court attorneys at the Appellate Division, First Department, the nation’s premiere intermediate appellate court, which handles appeals from Manhattan and the Bronx. In that role, he worked on more than 1,000 appeals, hundreds of motions, and numerous emergency applications. He learned from many judges from all backgrounds and judicial outlooks, and reviewed the work of the many fine trial judges we have in Manhattan and the Bronx in order to make recommendations and draft decisions on appeals. This work gave him an overview of the entire State court system, the opportunity to gain broad knowledge of the law and to handle the many different kinds of matters, from housing to criminal to family to civil, that the residents of Manhattan may encounter.
Since the Fall of 2015, Ariel has served as the Principal Law Clerk for the Honorable Peter Tom, the first Asian-American Appellate Judge in New York State. During much of that time Judge Tom was the Acting Presiding Justice of the court, and thus Ariel gained a unique perspective on the legal profession and the court system as he worked on the important administrative matters that come within the purview of the Presiding Justice’s special responsibilities. In addition to improving the operation of the First Department, he prepared Judge Tom in reviewing a broad array of matters for the Administrative Board of the Courts – the body that sets statewide policy for the courts - including the new attorney disciplinary rules, the broader implementation of e-filing, the certification of judges who reach the age of 70, and changing housing court forms to make them more accessible to laypersons.
Ariel also served as Judge Tom’s representative on the First Department’s hiring committee and aided Judge Tom in making hiring decisions, as well as determinations for various committee appointments. He assisted Judge Tom in improving and expanding the Court staff by bringing in a well qualified and diverse set of individuals to serve as court attorneys, as well as to serve in key positions in the Mental Hygiene Legal Service and the Attorney Grievance Committee.
Ariel assisted Judge Tom with the work of the Special Commission on the Future of the New York City Housing Court, which Chief Judge Janet DiFiore appointed Judge Tom to co-chair. The Commission’s report recommended changes which were intended to reduce delays in Housing Court and to make the court more accessible.
Ariel also conducted extensive research and wrote memoranda to prepare Judge Tom for oral argument inPeople v. Boone(30 NY3d 521 ), a case into which Judge Tom was vouchered, which was argued in the New York State Court of Appeals on October 17, 2017. The decision inBoonebroke new ground as it held that New York courts must instruct juries about the likelihood of eyewitness misidentification when the observer-witness is a different race than the suspect.
In his day-to-day work, Ariel advises Judge Tom as to the dispositions of appeals argued each week, conducts research in preparation for oral argument, post-argument conference and weekly agenda conferences, and writes drafts of memoranda to associate justices regarding Judge Tom’s view of particular appeals. Ariel also drafts published dissents, concurrences, and majority opinions, and reviews and responds to writings from other chambers prior to publication.
In addition, Ariel reviews and prepares reports on motions for leave to appeal to the Appellate Division and to the Court of Appeals, motions to reargue appeals, writes reports on disciplinary matters and drafts of per curiam opinions for the Court, which determine the outcomes of disciplinary proceedings against attorneys.
Since 2012, Ariel has volunteered as a small claims arbitrator in the East Harlem Community Courthouse, helping litigants resolve their matters. He also began a Tenants Association in his building to advise his neighbors of their rights and to challenge MCI increases on their behalf at no cost to them. As an active citizen, Ariel led the fight to ensure the City added pre-k seats to his neighborhood, which were needed by the many middle-class families that live there. He also serves as a mentor to minority law students and interns.
Frank P. Nervo
Democrat - City Civil Court, 1st Muncipal Court District
Democrat - City Civil Court, 2nd Municipal Court District
Wendy Li is highly committed to making our city’s Civil Court a better place for all New Yorkers. A firm believer in the principles of fairness, compassion, and equal treatment for all people under the law, she is passionate about serving our community as our next Civil Court Judge.
Wendy grew up in China to a family of modest means. Her parents sacrificed so that the dream of their children building a better life could be realized. It was because of their hard work and commitment to family that she was able to attend Peking University, where she obtained her first law degree. Wendy immigrated to the United States for law school when she was young adult with the hope of one day utilizing her legal experience and expertise to better the lives of others.
After receiving her second law degree in the United States, Wendy went on to attend Oxford University, where she obtained her Masters of Science in Law and Finance degree, and then Harvard University where she received a graduate certificate in International Relations.
As a New York licensed attorney for the past 18 years, and a law partner for the past seven years, Wendy has worked on a wide array of matters at several prestigious law firms. Throughout her legal career, she has continuously made it her duty to engage in pro-bono work and public service. In addition to being a full-time attorney, Wendy is a member of her community board where she routinely devotes her time to making our city a better place to live for all of us. Most recently, Wendy and her colleagues successfully reversed an unfair sale of a church building in her community.
It is in this tradition of service that Wendy is now fully committed to giving back to the country, city, and neighborhoods that gave her a chance to fulfill her American dream. She is running for Civil Court Judge as a progressive Democrat who believes that the court system needs to be accessible to everyone, no matter their background. Wendy is devoted to ensuring that every person has equal access to justice regardless of their age, race, religion, sexual orientation, immigration status, or nationality.
When elected, Wendy will treat all people with the respect they deserve, and make sure their rights are fully protected under the law. Every proceeding will give litigants a fair chance to have their voices clearly heard by our legal system.
Wendy has seen first-hand how our courts can make a difference in people’s lives, and she eagerly looks forward to serving the community that has given her so much. The heart and soul of her campaign is built on the belief that a diversified bench is essential to people receiving impartial treatment, principled judgment, and sound justice.
The values of fairness, compassion, and equal treatment for all have guided Wendy’s entire life, and they are the values she will proudly bring to the bench as our next Civil Court Judge.
Democrat - City Civil Court, 3rd Municipal Court District
Democrat - City Civil Court, 3rd Municipal Court District
Hilary Gingold is the principal attorney for the state’s Unified Court System. She works in high needs courts throughout the five boroughs as part of Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s Excellence Initiative. She took over as president of the Queens County Bar Association on June 1.
Democrat - City Civil Court, 5th Municipal Court District
Democrat - City Civil Court, 6th Municipal Court District
Democrat - City Civil Court, 9th Municipal Court District
Democrat - City Civil Court, 10th Municipal Court District
Democrat - City Civil Court, 10th Municipal Court District
Jeanine Renee Johnson has been Of Counsel to the Law Offices of Donaldson & Chilliest for eight years. Jeanine is a graduate of SUNY at Buffalo State College and Howard University School of Law. She concentrates in corporate real estate transactions, government relations and the niche area of election law. She has represented litigants in Housing, Family and Criminal Court.
Jeanine is widely regarded for her accomplishments in policy, law and politics. She began her career as Legislative director to Assemblyman N Nick Perry of Brooklyn, N.Y., later becoming General Counsel to former Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright of Harlem, N.Y. Through her direct efforts New Yorkers saw increased funding for heating assistance, food stamps, the minimum wage, and the public assistance grant. Her work lead to an increase in bonding for affordable housing development in New York City by more than one billion dollars, the largest community benefits agreement in the country secured with private funds and the creation of a small business development pipeline at the multi billion dollar Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
She is former Chair of the Board of Directors of the West Harlem Development Corporation, a former Board member of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association and the New York Coalition of 100 Black Women. The New York County Democratic Committee named her the first female of color to Chair its law committee. Jeanine was named as a rising star by the publication City & State in its 40 Under 40 list. While at Howard Law School she co-founded a mentoring program for inner-city girls but Jeanine is most proud to be a member of the Phoenix Sorority which mentors young girls.