By: Tony Best
A prominent New York State jurist, Sylvia Hinds-Radix who was born and raised in the Caribbean has been elevated to the Appellate Bench, joining the judges in the Second Department, one of the nation’s busiest appeals courts.
Justice Hinds-Radix, currently the administrative judge of the civil division of the New York State court in Kings County, is among new six judges appointed to the appellate bench by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“I am proud to appoint such an accomplished and diverse group of jurists to the Appellate Division,” said Governor Cuomo in a statement. “The experience and dedication of this group will be a tremendous addition to the courts and our justice system.”
Justice Hinds-Radix, a graduate of Howard University School of Law in 1984, has been on the bench for almost a dozen years, beginning as a civil court judge in the Second Judicial District 2001. Three years later she was elected to the state supreme court and was later appointed administrative judge of the civil division in Brooklyn, overseeing the work of 150 judges. She is currently President of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association and is the first Black person elected to lead the organization in its more than 100 years. Before her election to the state court, Hinds-Radix was the chief counsel of the Immigration program of District 37, one of the largest public employee unions in the country.
The Barbadian is joining 21 other judges in the Second Department which hears cases from 16 counties across the state and which is to be headed by Justice Randal Eng, a native of China and a former prosecutor. Eng was chosen by Cuomo and he is the first Asian-American appointed to the position of Presiding justice which places him in the state’s judicial hierarchy.
“It is an exceptional bench of distinguished jurists,” said Eng of the court. “I am impressed by the scholarship I have seen and the extra-ordinary work ethic. This is a very collegial bench. We are very respectful of each other.
“I hope to bring a greater efficiency to the operations of the court in harnessing the exceptional resources we have an applying them to the very substantial number of cases we receive.”
IN addition to Eng and Hinds-Radix, the other new appeals court judges are Justices Judith Gische, Paul Feinman and Darcel Clarke appointed to the First Department and Justices Joseph Valentino and Gerald Whalen to the Fourth Department.
Like Hinds-Radix, Justice Clarke, who is Black is a graduate of Howard University, receiving her law degree two years the Barbadian. Clarke was elected to the State Supreme Court in the Bronx in 2006. She once served as a New York City criminal court judge.
Assessing the appointments, Jonathan Lippman, one of four chief judges of the Appellate Division, said that they reflected “a strong focus on the importance of diversity to our tripartite system of government. The Governor has clearly considered a multitude of factors in making these terrific appointments, including diversity, which is so central to our branch of government and ability to do justice.
Hinds-Radix, a Brooklyn resident for more than 25 years is married to Dr. Joseph Radix, a well-known and highly respected dentist who is from Grenada. They have three children.