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This Week in New York City Government

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Mayor de Blasio Reappoints Seven Judges to City’s Criminal, Family and Civil Courts

Mayor de Blasio reappointed seven judges to New York City’s Civil, Criminal and Family Courts. The Mayor reappointed three judges to Criminal Court and two judges to Family Court. The Mayor also appointed two judges to Interim Civil Court seats for one year:  the Honorable Tracey Bing will remain assigned to the family court, and the Honorable Laura Johnson will remain assigned to the criminal court.

The Mayor reappointed the following judges:

Criminal Court

Honorable Bruna DiBiase received her undergraduate degree from Queens College and her law degree from Hofstra University School of Law. She has worked for the Legal Aid Society and as a solo practitioner for almost 14 years. Judge DiBiase has also served in various capacities with the New York State Unified Court System, including as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Policy and Planning. She was appointed to the Criminal Court in December 2013 and assigned to Criminal Court in Manhattan. She currently resides in Queens.

Honorable George Grasso received his undergraduate degree from York College and his law degree from St. John’s University School of Law. Judge Grasso served with the New York City Police Department for almost 30 years, having started as a patrol officer while attending law school. He quickly rose through the ranks within various offices and served as Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters and last served as First Deputy Police Commissioner. Judge Grasso was appointed as a Criminal Court Judge in January 2010, and became Supervising Judge of Arraignments for New York City Criminal Courts in 2012. He currently resides in Queens.

Honorable Laurie Peterson graduated from Brandeis University and received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. She served with the Legal Aid Society as a Supervising Attorney, worked for Queens Law Associates, and was a Principal Court Attorney to a Supervising Judge of the Criminal Court. Judge Peterson was appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2013 and reappointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2014, and she has been serving in Criminal Court. She currently resides in Queens.

Family Court

Honorable Adetokunbo Fasanya graduated from the University of Ife in Nigeria and from the Nigerian Law School. Prior to his appointment, he served with the New York City Child Welfare Administration and was in private practice for 14 years specializing in several areas including family law. Judge Fasanya was appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in October 2013 and was reappointed in January 2014, and he has been serving in Family Court. He currently resides in Queens.

Honorable Erik Pitchal graduated from Brown University and received his law degree from Yale Law School. Prior to his appointment, he served with the Legal Aid Society in the Juvenile Rights Division, worked for Children’s Rights, and was the Director of the Child Advocacy Clinic at Suffolk University Law School. He was also a consultant in child welfare and juvenile justice. Judge Pitchal was appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2013 and reappointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2014. He has been serving in Family Court in the Bronx. He currently resides in Brooklyn.

Civil Court

Honorable Tracey Bing graduated from S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook and C.U.N.Y. School of Law. She has served with Harlem Legal Services, the Legal Aid Society, and as Director of the Family Law/Domestic Violence Unit of Manhattan Legal Services. Judge Bing was appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in October 2013 to serve in Family Court, and was reappointed in January 2014. She currently resides in the Bronx.

Honorable Laura Johnson received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College and her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law. Prior to her appointment, she served with the New York County District Attorney’s Office and the Legal Aid Society, including as Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Appeals Bureau. She also served as an Assistant Solicitor General, and clerked for the Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals. Judge Johnson was appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in January 2013 and reappointed in January 2014, and has been serving in Criminal Court. She currently resides in Brooklyn.

The de Blasio administration Service Urges New Yorkers to Make Volunteering a 2015 Resolution

As part of the de Blasio administration’s ongoing efforts to encourage more New Yorkers to volunteer across the five boroughs, NYC Service today marked New Year’s Eve by urging New Yorkers to make volunteering a 2015 New Year’s resolution.

The short-term goal of this campaign is to register 2,015 new volunteers with NYC Service by early 2015—nearly doubling the current number of registrants—with the broader objective of inspiring New Yorkers to commit to service in their neighborhoods year-round. NYC Service has been promoting these efforts across online platforms and invites New Yorkers to share on social media that they have made volunteering their resolution, using the hashtag #ResolVolunteer.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito Announces the City to Name Streets in Honor of Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos

Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced the City will move to name two streets in honor of Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. The co-namings will be sponsored by Council Members Mark Treyger and Rafael Espinal, who represent the two detectives’ districts, and Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Legislation will be introduced co-naming Ridgewood Avenue, between Shepherd Avenue and Highland Place in Brooklyn, “Detective Rafael Ramos Way.” West 6th Street, between Avenue S and Avenue T in Brooklyn, will be co-named “Detective Wenjian Liu Way.” The blocks are the sites of the detectives’ respective homes, and were selected in consultation with their families.

A street co-naming bill honoring the two detectives will be introduced and voted on at the City Council’s second stated meeting in January.

Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City Announces Initial $120,000 Raised for Fallen Heroes Relief Effort and Calls on New Yorkers To Get Involved

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York announced that it has so far raised $120,000 in pledges through the Fallen Heroes Relief Effort, which was established in honor of slain Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, and the broader NYPD community, to support affected families and our law enforcement during this difficult time. The Fund received pledges from JPMorgan Chase & Co., Verizon, Association for a Better New York and the Rudin Family, AT&T, The Wilpon Family and the New York Mets Foundation, and The Hispanic Federation. Encouraged by the quick action and generosity of everyday New Yorkers, and the City’s civic and business institutions, the Mayor’s Fund will push forward to expand the Fallen Heroes Relief Effort.

Through this three-tier effort, the Mayor’s Fund is collecting and will direct donations to local charities working with the families of the fallen officers, raise awareness and educate New Yorkers about various volunteer opportunities in their neighborhoods, and support ongoing programs that help bring police and community closer together.

To GIVE
The Mayor’s Fund is working in conjunction with the NYPD to grant financial support to organizations including The Daily News Charities for the Ramos and Liu families, The Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, the Heroes Fund of the New York City Police Foundation, and the NYC PBA Widows’ and Children’s Fund. Contribute today to support the families of Detectives Liu and Officer Ramos and the broader law enforcement community.

To VOLUNTEER
During any season—but especially this holiday season—volunteering is a powerful way to give back and support our City and families in need. Through initiatives like NYC Service, New Yorkers can find opportunities that work to engage, heal, and support our neighbors and neighborhoods. Search volunteer opportunities by skill, borough and interest today.

To SUPPORT
New York City has a rich history of supporting community-based programs that foster collaboration, promote relationship building, and advance a dialogue between our City’s police and the communities they serve and protect. The Mayor’s Fund is working with several partners to expand programs such as the Police Athletic League, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and more recent initiatives like the NYPD Youth Leadership Councils. Support these and other police and community partnership efforts today.

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