Mayor de Blasio Appoints 12 Judges

December 23, 2021

New York— Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced 1 appointment to Family Court, 4 appointments to Criminal Court, and 7 appointments to Civil Court.

“These judges have evidenced their commitment and sharpness by managing some of the most difficult cases our city has ever seen. I am proud to appoint these individuals who have fought for fairness and equity at every step of their career,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I have no doubt they will continue to do what they have always done: dedicate their careers to making our city, state, and nation more fair and just.”

Family, Criminal, and Civil Court are part of the New York State Unified Court System. Family Court judges hear cases related to adoption, foster care and guardianship, custody and visitation, domestic violence, abused or neglected children, and juvenile delinquency. The City’s Criminal Court handles misdemeanor cases and lesser offenses and conducts arraignments. One of the judges newly appointed to Civil Court will be presiding in Family Court. Six judges newly appointed to Civil Court are expected to preside in Criminal Court.

The Mayor appointed the following judge to Family Court:

Judge Jonathan H. Shim was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in February 2018 and has been serving in Family Court. Judge Shim began his legal career as an associate at several firms and started his own practice in family and matrimonial law which he maintained for nine and a half years, prior to his appointment to the bench. He is a graduate of SUNY at Albany and received his law degree from Albany Law School.

The Mayor appointed the following judges to Criminal Court:

Judge Giyang An formerly served with the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office in the Criminal Court, Intake, and Narcotics Bureaus, and the Gun Readiness Unit of the Trial Bureau. She most recently served as an Assistant Attorney General with the Office of the New York State Attorney General in the Torts Section of the Claims Bureau, Division of State Counsel. She also teaches as an Adjunct Professor of Law, Lawyering, and Legal Writing at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. She is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine and received her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

Judge Carolina Holderness began her legal career as Law Clerk to the Honorable Lawrence M. McKenna in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. She subsequently joined the New York County District Attorney’s Office and has served in various capacities for the last 14 years, including as Criminal Court Supervisor, Chief of the Human Trafficking Response Unit of the Special Victims Bureau and most recently, prior to her appointment, as the Deputy Chief of the Special Victims Bureau. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received her J.D. from Columbia Law School. Ms. Holderness’s appointment will be effective at the end of this month.

Judge Biju J. Koshy formerly served with the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office in the Criminal Court and General Crimes Bureaus. He went on to serve in the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office as a Supervisor, then Deputy Chief of the Criminal Court Bureau before joining the New York State Unified Court System as a Senior Court Attorney to a Criminal Court judge. He subsequently opened his own practice in Richmond County handling felony and misdemeanor cases, as well as serving as a court evaluator and appointed counsel on Guardianship cases in Supreme Court. He is a graduate of Pace University and received his J.D. from Seton Hall Law School.

Judge Melissa T. Lewis began her legal career with the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office where she remained for 14 years serving in the District Court Misdemeanor Trial Bureau, County Court Felony Trial Bureau, and Major Offense Bureau. She last served as a Deputy Bureau Chief of the County Court Felony Trial Bureau and as Director of Recruitment. Prior to her appointment to the bench, she served with the New York State Unified Court System as Deputy Chief of Staff to former Deputy Chief Administrative Judge George J. Silver. She is a graduate of St. John’s University and received her law degree from New York Law School.

The Mayor appointed the following judges to Civil Court:

Judge Anthony M. Battisti was a former Queens County Assistant District Attorney for four years assigned to the Intake, Criminal Court, Grand Jury, and Supreme Court Bureaus. He subsequently entered into a law partnership and shortly thereafter started his own practice. He was a private practitioner in Queens for over 27 years specializing in criminal defense. Judge Battisti received both his undergraduate and his law degree from St. John’s University. Judge Battisti is appointed to Civil Court and is expected to be assigned to Criminal Court.

Judge Diego A. Freire formerly served with The Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Practice in Queens County for 14 years. He was most recently Senior Staff Attorney and Adolescent Intervention and Diversion Attorney prior to his appointment to the bench. Judge Freire is a graduate of Queens College and received his law degree from Temple University, Beasley School of Law. Judge Freire is appointed to Civil Court and is expected to be assigned to Criminal Court.

Judge Simiyon S. Haniff began his legal career with the Queens County District Attorney’s Office serving in the Intake, Domestic Violence, Appeals and Trial Bureaus. After two partnerships, he opened his own practice which he maintained for seven and a half years. He returned to the Queens County District Attorney’s Office serving most recently as Supervising Attorney of the Criminal Court Bureau’s Part AP-2. He is a graduate of St. John’s University and Brooklyn Law School. Judge Haniff is appointed to Civil Court and is expected to be assigned to Criminal Court.

Judge Marty J. Lentz was a former Law Clerk in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C. She went on to serve with The Legal Aid Society for the last 18 years as a Staff Attorney assigned to the Brooklyn Criminal Defense Practice, Misdemeanor Brooklyn Treatment Court, and most recently at the Red Hook Community Justice Center. She is a graduate of Loyola University in Chicago and received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Judge Lentz is appointed to Civil Court and is expected to be assigned to Criminal Court.

Judge Srividya Pappachan began her legal career as a Staff Attorney with The Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Practice where she remained for over nine years. She thereafter became Court Attorney to the Honorable Josh E. Hanshaft, New York County Criminal Court and briefly in Kings County Family Court. Judge Pappachan is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts – Amherst and received her law degree from Hofstra University School of Law. Judge Pappachan is appointed to Civil Court and is expected to be assigned to Criminal Court.

Judge Rachel S. Pauley was a former Kings County Assistant District Attorney and a Principal Court Attorney in Supreme Court, Criminal Term. She also served with the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the New York State Inspector General’s Office. Most recently, she was Director of Government Programs, Social Justice Initiatives and a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School. She received her dual bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia University’s Barnard College and School of International and Public Affairs, and her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. Judge Pauley is appointed to Civil Court and is expected to be assigned to Criminal Court.

Judge Stephanie Schwartz began her legal career with The Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Practice and later served with the New York City Administration for Children’s Services in New York and Bronx Counties for over nine years. Prior to her appointment to the bench, she was a Court Attorney-Referee in New York County Family Court for five years. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison and received her law degree from CUNY School of Law. Judge Schwartz is appointed to Civil Court and will be assigned to Family Court.

https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/861-21/mayor-de-blasio-appoints-1-judge-family-court-4-judges-criminal-court-7-judges-civil