Born: September 19, 1928
Died: August 3, 2009
Justice Alfred D. Lerner was born on September 19, 1928 in Jamaica, Queens. He graduated from Hunter College before earning a law degree from New York Law School in 1951. He was admitted to the bar that year. In 1957, he was elected to the State Assembly as a Republican. He held this position for 14 years and served on the Judiciary and Insurance Committees.
Lerner became a Justice for the Queens County Supreme Court in 1971 and Administrative Judge for Queens County in 1987. Because of his success in maintaining Queens as the only borough without a backlog of cases, in 1994, the Office of Court Administration appointed him to rid New York City of its enormous backlog of lawsuits. In 1997, Governor George E. Pataki designated him as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department and in the following year named him Presiding Justice of the First Department, a position he held until 1999. From 1999 until his retirement in 2004, Lerner held the position of Associate Justice for the First Department. In 2002, Justice Lerner wrote the majority opinion which reversed a decision by the State Supreme Court that had found the state's educational funding allocation was depriving New York City students of a "sound, basic education"; Justice Lerner wrote: "Society needs workers in all levels of jobs" (Blaming).
After his retirement from the bench, Lerner continued to practice law as counsel to Phillips Nizer LLP, specializing in appellate practice and alternative dispute resolution. In 2005, Governor George E. Pataki appointed Lerner as Chairman of the New York State Commission of Investigation.
His memberships included the New York State and New York City Bar Associations and the New York County Lawyers Association. From 1979 until 1983, he was an adjunct professor of law at St. John's University. He also served in the United States Army from 1945 until 1947, earned a pilot's license, and reached the rank of Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol.
He was married to Charlotte Lerner and had three children. He died on August 3, 2009 at the age of 80.
"A Judge Says Now." New York Times (1923-Current file): 36. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008). Apr 24 1994. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. "Alfred D. Lerner." New York Law Journal 4 Aug. 2009, Obituary sec. Print.
"Blaming the Victim." New York Times (1923-Current file): A22. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008). Jun 26 2002. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.
"Governor Names Alfred D. Lerner As Chair of Commission of Investigation." Phillips Nizer LLP, 10 June 2005. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. http://www.phillipsnizer.com/newsevents/pressrelease.cfm?ReleaseID=39.
"Judge Lerner's Bio." CourtAlert, 2003. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. http://www.courtalert.com/JudgeLerner.asp.
"Justices of the Court: Alfred D. Lerner." New York State Unified Court System, Appellate Division First Department. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/ad1/centennial/Bios/adlerner2.shtml.