Guyanese judge elated to be re-elected

Judge Ingrid Joseph.
Roderick E. Randall

A Guyanese-born judge has expressed elation and fatigue about her re-election to another 10-year term on Brooklyn’s Civil Court.“I feel elated and tired,” Judge Ingrid Joseph told Caribbean Life in an exclusive interview over the weekend. “Elated at the fact that I was able to gain overwhelming support from the Brooklyn voters to re-elect me for another 10-year term.

“Tired because I worked very hard every day to meet and introduce myself to all members of the Brooklyn community at churches, civic and senior centers, community boards, block parties, street fairs, precinct council meetings, subway stations, and at community panel discussions,” she added.

“I also participated in the vetting process by appearing before several Bar Associations and various other independent organizations,” she continued.

Joseph was first elected as a Countywide judge to the Civil Court in 2008.

That Civil Court seat was slated as vacancy 18 on the ballot in the Democratic Primary Election, on Sept. 13.

There were two incumbents (current sitting judges) seeking re-election to Countywide Civil Court seats: Joseph and Loren Bailey. The contenders for those seats were Sheryl Orwell and Saul Cohen.

According to the Board of Elections’ Unofficial Election Night Results, a total of 388,119 votes were cast. Joseph received 133,372 votes; Bailey 118,520; 88,366 votes and Cohen 45,995 votes; with 1866 write-in votes.

After her first election in 2008, Joseph said she began her tenure as a judge in January 2009, serving for nine years and nine months before her re-election.

In addition to her duties as a civil court judge, Joseph said she was appointed acting justice of the Supreme Court in 2012, working for seven years in that capacity.

She was promoted to Supervising Judge of the Civil Court in January 2017.

Prior to becoming a judge, Joseph was a Principal Law Clerk, primarily for two Supreme Court Justices, Nicholas Clemente and Mark Partnow.

Judge Joseph said she has decided on the length of time she will remain on the bench, without elaborating.

“I can only say that, right now, I have a love and passion for the law, and I enjoy serving my community in the capacity of a judge,” she said.

She, however, said helping people solve problems that affect their everyday lives is “by far, the biggest positive of this job.

“One of the more pronounced challenges is finding ways to manage the inventory of open cases in light of the large amount of cases filed in Brooklyn each year,” Judge Joseph said.

“I want to thank all who supported me throughout this process,” she added. “I also want to acknowledge and thank all who took the time to listen, and sometimes argue with me, about the importance of voting.”

Joseph graduated with honors from Prospect Heights High school in Brooklyn.

She was awarded a Bachelor of Art Degree (Cum Laude) from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and received a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from New York Law school.

She began her legal career at two law firms, where she handled wills and provided legal estate planning services to clients.

Joseph later became a principal law clerk in Kings County Supreme Court, working primarily with Hon. Clemente and Partnow in the areas of medical malpractice and personal injury.

Simultaneously, she became an adjunct professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College, where she shared her knowledge and love of the law with students.

When Joseph was first elected to the Civil Court, she was assigned to Queens and Brooklyn Civil Court in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

In those courts, she handled personal injury, commercial real estate, breach of contract, no fault and small claims cases.

In 2011, Judge Joseph was appointed to handle a custody, visitation and orders of protection part in the Family Court, and, in 2012, she was promoted to acting justice of the Supreme Court and reassigned to Brooklyn Civil court.

Her duties were expanded to include Supreme Court jury trials, foreclosure cases, and Uncontested Matrimonial proceedings.

In 2016, she was assigned to Kings Supreme Court as a matrimonial judge, where she handled contested divorce actions.

The following year, Judge Joseph was appointed supervising judge of the Civil Court, where she currently presides.

In addition to handling bench and jury trials, she assigns ready cases to Civil Court judges, managing calendars in the various circuit parts, and resolves complaints made by litigants and attorneys.

Judge Joseph is a current or former member of New York State Bar, Brooklyn Bar Association, Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, Metropolitan Black Bar Association, and the National Association of Securities Dealers Arbitrators.

She has worked as a small claims arbitrator and mediator for the NYC Victim Service Agency.

Judge Joseph has served as a board member of organizations, such as the Beacon School Program, George C. Conliffe Child Care Center, Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, Bushwick Information Coordinating & Action Committee, and as the chairperson of her church’s scholarship program.

She has also shared her legal skills as a volunteer judge and coach for moot court and mock trial competitions.

Every year, Judge Joseph appears in schools for career day and regularly makes appearances to youth forums to speak about the advantages of staying in school, staying out of trouble and discussing how to behave when stopped by the police.

She regularly participates on panels to provide legal information to seniors and other members of the community.

Judge Joseph has been the recipient of several awards including but not limited to The Service & Humanitarian Award from Guyana Missions, Consulate and the Guyana Tri State Alliance Inc.; Renaissance Woman of the Year from the Coral Reef Experience Inc.; and Special Congressional Recognition Award for Outstanding Service to the Community from Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.

She has also received the Ecumenical Award from the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Brooklyn; the Caribbean Life Impact Award from Caribbean Life newspaper; and an award for excellence in servicing the community from the Doctor Walter A. Kyte Memorial Foundation.

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