While stating that the Appellate Court on which she sits is the busiest in the nation, Caribbean-born Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix has described as “interesting and fulfilling” her role on the New York court.
“The challenges are different from sitting on the trial court,” said Barbadian-born Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix, an Associate Justice of the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department, in an exclusive Caribbean Life interview on Sunday.
“The Appellate bench helps to shape the law in the State of New York,” she added. “It has been interesting and fulfilling, because it gives me an opportunity to help shape the law and have an impact on things statewide and community wide.”
Justice Hinds-Radix, who is married to Grenadian-born dentist Dr. Joseph Radix, said the Appellate court on which she sits gets 151 percent of appellate cases in the State of New York.
“We oversee 10 counties; we do over 4, 000 appeals per year,” she said. “It’s very busy, and you don’t get an opportunity to get bored.
“People on the bench have integrity, and they work every day to ensure the public gets the representation they need and deserve,” she added.
Justice Hinds-Radix said she is probably the first Caribbean-born justice to sit on the New York Appellate court.
“It’s a significant lesson,” she said. “Who could envision coming from an island (that is) 166 square miles (in size) to ascent to this position?
“I’m thankful to the governor and the community for re-electing me,” Justice Hinds-Radix added. “It’s an affirmation to my community, and I will endeavor to live up to the people’s trust as I go forward.”
Justice Hinds-Radix was re-elected to another 14-year term in the Midterm elections in November.
She said she was “quite happy” that her daughter, Jovia, graduated from law school, passed the bar examination, “and will continue in my footsteps,” adding: “I expect she’ll be better.”
In November 2012, Justice Hinds-Radix was appointed as an associate justice of the NYS Appellate Division, Second Department, by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Prior to her appointment, she served as administrative judge for civil matters in the Second Judicial District for 42 months.
In her capacity as administrative judge, she oversaw both the New York State Supreme Court, Civil Term and the New York City Civil Court, which also encompasses the Housing Court of the City of New York. She supervised both the judges in these courts and the non-judicial staff.
Justice Hinds-Radix was elected to the Supreme Court, Kings County, in November of 2004 and served as a New York City Civil Court Judge, from 2002 through 2004, spending her first year in the Criminal Court of Kings County.
In 1985, soon after graduating from Howard University School of Law, Hinds-Radix joined the legal staff of District Council 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services, where she remained until her Civil Court election in 2001.
While at DC 37, the largest union for public employees in New York, she practiced in the areas of civil practice, bankruptcy and landlord/tenant, and was the general counsel of the immigration program, a program which she was instrumental in founding.
In addition to her professional responsibilities, Justice Hinds-Radix is on the board of directors of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association, and is vice president of the Supreme Court Justices Association of the City of New York.
She is the president of the American Inns of Court, the second vice president of the Judicial Friends, a board member of the Women in the Courts Committee, and a member of the board of directors for the St. Gabriel’s Senior Citizens Center and the St. John’s Bread and Life Agency.
Justice Hinds-Radix served as the president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association and is also a member of several organizations, including the Brooklyn Bar Association, the New York State Association of Supreme Court Justices, the New York State Bar Association, Catholic Lawyers Guild, Columbian Lawyers of Brooklyn, the New York Criminal Bar Association, the New York County Lawyers Association, the National Association of Women Judges, JALBCA, Puerto Rican Bar Association, The Tribune Society, the Association of Black Women Attorneys, and the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc.
Justice Hinds-Radix is the recipient of many awards, including The Gold Crown of Merit, which was conferred on her by the Governor General of Barbados on that nation’s celebration of its 39th anniversary of its independence, one of the nation’s highest honors.
She has been honored with the Golda Meir Award, bestowed on her by the Jewish Lawyers Guild, as well as the Beatrice M. Judge Award and the Sybil Hart Kooper Award by the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association.
Justice Hinds-Radix said she has a passion for interacting with children and young adults, which she incorporates with her love of the law by being “a mentor and advisor to those who seek a career in the legal profession.”
Every year, the judge said she participates in career day programs at several schools, where she educates young people on a career in law and the function of the judiciary.
In her role as administrative judge, she said she developed a summer internship program for law students, where more than 120 students, annually, were able to participate in workshops and visit other courts to observe andf learn the role of each court.
Clearly, Justice Hinds-Radix epitomizes the statement, “it takes a village to raise a child,” by giving back to her own community.
A staunch advocate for children’s education, every Saturday morning, the judge said she and her family tutor young people at the Barbados Ex-Police Association.
Justice Hinds-Radix earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Massachusetts, her Master’s Degree in Political Science from Long Island University and received her Jurist Doctorate Degree from Howard University School of Law.
In addition to being admitted to practice law in the State of New York, Justice Hinds-Radix is admitted to the United States Federal Court: Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
Justice Hinds-Radix and Dr. Radix are the proud parents of three daughters.