In the first live swearing in ceremony of judges since the outbreak of COVID-19 back in March 2020, long time East Side resident Sabrina Kraus was formally sworn in to her first elected term as a NY State Supreme Court Judge. Kraus had been appointed an acting justice in 2021 and in her first bid for the office via an election received 303,163 votes--the most of any candidate in the November 2022 Supreme Court judicial race where the top three candidates are seated, She was formally sworn in by Justice Judith Gische. Both judges, at different times, were Housing Court Judges, Civil Court Judges, and now Justices of the Supreme Court. Judge Gische is remembered for her decision in the tabloid-y divorce of NY’s then-Mayor Giuliani, when he was divorcing his second wife, Donna Hanover. It was Gische who banned Giuliani’s then-girlfriend, Judith Nathan, from Gracie Mansion where Guiliani, Hanover, and their two children resided. The ban was effective while the Guiliani children lived there as a family.
The ceremony was held in the newly named Paul G. Feinman Ceremonial Court Room 300. A plaque outside and a picture of him inside the court room are a testimonial to Judge Feinman who passed in March 2021 while a justice on the Court of Appeals.
On hand for the induction ceremony was former Congress member Carolyn Maloney, one of Kraus’s first and most committed supporters on her judicial journey. Everyone was congratulating Maloney on the announcement by Jennifer Raab, Hunter College President that Maloney will spend the Spring 2023 semester at Hunter College where she will be Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished Leader in Residence at Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute.
Before becoming a judge in 2006, Judge Kraus practiced with law firms specializing in real estate law. In 1964, her parents, Abby and Jacqueline Setareh, came to America where Judge Kraus was born and raised on the Upper East Side. She was educated at Birch Walthen, Colgate University and Cardozo Law School where she graduated in 1991.
There was great pride at the podium-- which is usually the judge’s bench--as Sabrina’s husband, Craig Kraus, and three generations of the Setareh family--Sabrina, her parents, her three children (Corey Isaacs, Jason Isaacs, Mikaela Kraus)--surrounded her as the oath of office was administered.
Getting to Civil - Tis the time of year that judicial candidates in Manhattan start the process of seeking an open Civil Court seat. There are three open seats this year - Civil Court Judges Sabrina Kraus, Lisa Sokoloff and Dakota Ramseur were elected in November to Supreme Court. New York Civil Court is comprised of three parts - General Civil, Housing and Small Claims. General Civil cases are monetary in nature with litigants seeking monetary relief up to $50,000. Housing Part is for landlord-tenant matters and lawsuits involving the maintenance of housing standards. The Small Claims Part is for cases where litigants are seeking monetary relief up to $10,000. Litigants have the option to have their case heard by the judge presiding at the time the case is before the court, or by an attorney arbitrator.
In the last few months, I’ve meet with some of the candidates who are seeking Civil Court judgeships. Since October 2021 Anna Mikaleva has been Principal Court Attorney to Hon. Jeffrey K. Oing, J.S.C., Appellate Division, First Dept., who now sits on the Appellate Division, First Dept. Earlier in her career, from 2011 to 2017, she was in the Law Dept., New York State Supreme Court as Senior Court Attorney assigned to Judge Oing. In between, she was Court Attorney in New York Supreme Court, Civil, and in the Commercial Division. She’s come full circle.
Andrea R. Krugman has been with the law firm of Weiss & Rosenbloom, P.C. since 1997, and has served as an Arbitrator in the Small Claims Court since 2015. She has Certification in E-Finance and E-Law from NYU since 2001 and received Certification in Basic Mediation Training in 2016 and Advanced Certification in Divorce Mediation Trainng in 2021 from New York Peace Institute.
Since 2019, Allison Greenfield has been Principal Court Attorney to Justice Arthur Engoron, Supreme Court. From 2013 to 2018, she was Senior Counsel, Special Litigation Unit, New York City Law Dept. Prior to working in the court system, Allison was an associate in a law firm.
Terence W. McCormick is Partner with the law firm Mintz & Gold, LLP where he represents clients in First Amendment and copyright cases, employment disputes, and commercial litigation matters. He has been a litigator with the firm since 2004. Earlier in his career he was Law Clerk, U.S. Court of International Trade, and was a litigation associate in a law firm. He has served as a Small Claims arbitrator.
Dana M. Catanzaro has been Partner at the Litchfield Cavo LLP since 2018. She litigates cases through trial as well as supervising and training associate attorneys, managing complex construction and property damage cases. Prior to becoming partner, she was an Associate and Counsel to the firm. She has practiced in law firms where she managed caseloads. Dana has been a member of the City Bar Chorus (CBC) since 2007 embarking on their “musical pro bono” concerts at senior residences, homeless shelters and nursing homes.
Since 2021, Ralph L. Wolf has been Assistant Deputy Counsel, Division of Policy and Planning, Office for Justice Initiatives in the Office of Court Administration where he is Director of the NYS Attorney Emeritus Program, an organization that connects pro bono volunteer lawyers with civil legal service providers. He was an Associate Court Attorney in NYC Family Court and Principal Law Clerk to Justice Sherry Klein Heitler.Judge Sokoloff’s seat flipped [went] to Austin Dsouza and Judge Frank Nervo’s seat will be open. He ages out this year and is retiring.