Newly Elected & Appointed Judges


NYC Civil Court, Bronx County

Prior to ascending to the bench to become a judge in Manhattan’s Criminal Court, John A. Howard-Algarin’s career as an attorney included advocacy in virtually every sphere of civil litigation following his graduation with honors from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1995. Of African-American and Puerto Rican heritage, Judge Howard-Algarin was first raised in the Bronxdale Houses (now Sonia Sotomayor Houses) where he attended nearby P.S. 47 prior to moving with his family to San Juan, Puerto Rico. On the island, he attended parochial and military schools and he graduated from Great Neck South Public High School in Long Island.

Judge Howard-Algarin took his undergraduate studies at the City University of New York, Herbert H. Lehman College, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelors of Arts. Judge Howard-Algarin attended the University of Maryland to study law.

At the University of Maryland, with the aid of several of his peers, Judge Howard-Algarin founded the law school’s first Latino Law Students Association, which organization thrives to date. He also served on the National Executive Board for the Black Law Student Association, where he helped to organize and host the national conference in Baltimore during his second year of law school. He obtained his Juris Doctor, with honors. Judge Howard-Algarin was first admitted to the practice of law in Maryland in 1995. He commenced his legal career as a law clerk/bailiff for Baltimore City’s Orphan’s Court, a probate court presided over by a three-judge panel.

Upon concluding his clerkship, he joined the commercial litigation team of Shapiro & Olander, P.C. (now Shapiro, Sher & Guinot). Judge Howard-Algarin returned to New York where he served for two years as the senior litigation associate at Curtis & Reiss-Curtis, P.C., a professional malpractice boutique, followed by 15 years as the senior associate at Bamundo, Zwal & Schermerhorn, L.L.P. In the final years of his career as a legal advocate, John served as associate counsel to Consolidated Edison’s ultra-high volume general litigation department, where he defended the energy conglomerate from varied and numerous legal claims.

He has served his Bronx community as Chairperson of the Parks and Recreation Committee for Bronx, an organization dedicated to beautifying green spaces. He was a straight-A graduate student at New York Alliance Theological Seminary. Judge Howard-Algarin is the super proud father of the beautiful, creative and talented high school honors student.


New York County Family Court

Hon. Jessica I. Bourbon was elected in November 2019, to the Civil Court, Bronx County. Judge Bourbon is currently assigned to New York County Family Court, where she presides over custody, visitation and juvenile delinquency matters. Prior to her election to the Civil Court, Judge Bourbon served as an Associate Court Attorney in Bronx County Criminal and Civil Courts. Her career in public service began as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, prosecuting misdemeanor and felony cases in various bureaus in the Office. Judge Bourbon received her Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University and her Juris Doctorate from New York Law School.


NYC Criminal Court - New York County

In November 2020, Hon. Nestor Diaz made history when he became the first male Dominican ever elected to Civil Court Judge of the City of New York, in Queens County. Hon. Nestor Diaz, a first-generation Dominican American, graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Government and Public Administration from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. After college, Judge Diaz attended St. John’s Law School. While at law school, he worked as a Summer Associate with the Office of the New York State Special Prosecutor. His assignments included assisting in the prosecution of the famous “Howard Beach” case, as well as other high-profile cases involving discrimination and police corruption. In 1989, Judge Diaz graduated law school, and continued his career in public service as a Special Assistant to the City of New York’s Corporation Counsel for the Commissioner of Social Services. In this capacity, he worked to advance the rights of children and families by prosecuting non-payment of child support cases. In 1996, Judge Diaz became a Senior Assistant District Attorney with the Kings County District Attorneys’ Office, where he prosecuted cases of domestic violence, civil rights violations and economic crimes. In 2001, Judge Diaz started his own law practice in Queens, New York, focusing in the areas of criminal law, immigration law, family law and civil litigation.

In addition to his volunteer work, Judge Diaz is on the Advisory Board of the Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County, where he also served as President from 2009-2010. Judge Diaz service to the community has been recognized through the numerous awards he has received from various entities, and most recently includes the “2020 Man of the Year” Award presented by the organization "100 Hispanic Men" at Citifield, and the “El Quijote” Award in 2019 from the Committee for the New York City Hispanic Parade.

Judge Diaz has been married to his college sweetheart, Iris, for the past thirty years and is the proud father of two daughters and a new granddaughter.

Judge Diaz will serve at the New York County Criminal Court.


Orange Supreme & County Court

Prior to being elected to Orange County Court as the first female County Court Judge as well as the first Asian-American County Court Judge in Orange County, Judge Hyun Chin Kim served as the Principal Law Clerk for Orange County Court Judge William L. DeProspo. She has served in this capacity since 2018. From 2004 to 2017, Judge Kim was employed with the Orange County Attorney’s Office in Goshen, N.Y., where she held the position of chief assistant county attorney of litigation.

Judge Kim graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. in 1992. She received her Juris Doctorate from Temple University School of Law in Philadelphia, Pa. She is married to Paul S. Ernenwein, partner at a prestigious Hudson Valley-based law firm. They reside in Newburgh and have two children. Upon graduating from law school Judge Kim accepted a position as an assistant district attorney with the Bronx District Attorney’s Office in Bronx, N.Y. She later served at Ahmuty, Demers & Mcmanus in Hopewell Junction as an associate attorney.


NYC Criminal Court

On January 2020, Judge Maldonado Cruz was sworn in as the only Puerto Rican woman to win the only countywide contested judicial race in Queens. She currently sits in New York County Criminal Term. Prior to that, on June 25, 2019, she overwhelmingly won the democratic primary, securing the Democratic Party nomination for New York City Civil Court.

Hon. Lumarie Maldonado Cruz was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Judge Maldonado Cruz moved to the Bronx, New York with her mother at the age of 16 looking for a better life, with nothing but a suitcase. She wasted no time and at the age of 17 she graduated High School. At the age of 23, Judge Maldonado Cruz found herself a single mother, living on welfare. Refusing to be marginalized and discounted, she applied and was accepted to John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with the understanding that only with a solid education she would be able to break the cycle of poverty, violence and self-helplessness. At the age of 27, armed with a bachelor’s degree on Judicial Studies, two children and a husband, Judge Maldonado Cruz enrolled in CUNY School of law and in 2003, as a mother of three, she began her legal career as a solo practitioner. She specialized in Elder law with a focus on Medicaid Planning and Trust and Estates.

She was then afforded the opportunity to join the New York City Civil Court, as Court attorney to Justice Julia Rodriguez. Later, Judge Maldonado Cruz joined the ranks of the New York State Assembly, as Counsel and Chief of Staff to the Hon. Naomi Rivera.In 2008, she was afforded the opportunity to join the prestigious Appellate Division First Department, as Staff Counsel to the Character and Fitness Committee, where she worked for 10 years before deciding to, against all odds, to run for a seat in the New York City Civil Court.


NYC Criminal Court - Bronx County

Hon. Wanda Yvette Negron was born and raised in the Monroe projects of the Bronx. By the age of fourteen years old, she had to begin working to help contribute to the family’s finances. This experience ignited her vision to one day make a difference in her community. Her goal has always been to make a positive change in the lives of the youth, young women and those of unfortunate circumstance.

After graduating high school, while working full-time and going to evening school full-time, she obtained a Paralegal Certificate from Herbert H. Lehman College. As a paralegal, she began working for a law firm, while continuing her studies at Lehman to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. This opened a whole new world allowing her to become familiar with all aspects of the law. She then went on to attend law school at Quinnipiac School of Law, obtaining her Juris Doctorate, as well as, her Master’s in Business Administration. Judge Negron achieved all of this while raising a family and continuing to work full time.

The nearly 28 years of experience in the legal field has prepared her to continue fair and equal justice from the bench without bias or favor. Judge Negron is proud to serve her community as a bi-lingual Latina and she has often been called upon to represent those with language barriers. Throughout her career as an attorney, she has always given her clients the professional representation they deserve.

Judge Negron recent position was as a Hearing Officer at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) which entailed adjudicating and writing decisions for hearings in cases involving alleged violations of local laws, rules and regulations of agencies within New York City.


NYC Criminal Court - Bronx County

Hon. Seth Steed was elected to the Civil Court, New York County, in November 2020 and currently sits in the Criminal Court, Bronx County.

Judge Steed previously served with: The Bronx District Attorney's Office; Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem; Columbia Law School; The Legal Aid Society, Criminal Appeals Bureau; and, Thompson O'Donnell, LLP. Judge Steed also clerked for the Hon. Michael F. Urbanski, in the federal district court for the Western District of Virginia.

Judge Steed is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Washington & Lee University School of Law.


Syracuse City Court

Prior to ascending to the bench, Judge Shadia Tadros distinguished herself in and outside of the courtroom as the owner and founder of the Tadros Law Office, which served the City of Syracuse. She is a Penn State trained attorney and has over a decade of court experience, which includes criminal, civil, and immigration litigation.

Judge Tadros has trained other lawyers on the intersection of criminal and immigration law, as well as having been awarded the Pro Bono champion of the year from the Onondaga Volunteer Lawyers Project. In addition, she presided over hearings as the administrative law judge with the City’s Bureau of Administrative Adjudications, which addresses backlogged and outstanding housing violations.

Judge Tadros is a first-generation Arab-American and the youngest of five siblings born to Jordanian immigrant parents. Her family settled on the City’s South Side and she is a proud graduate of City schools. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the William Herbert Johnson Minority Bar Association.


New York City Civil Court

Hon. Michele R. Titus has served as a New York City Civil Court Judge since January 2020.


NYC Supreme Court – Civil Term

Hon. Lourdes M. Ventura is currently serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York in the 11th Judicial District (Queens County) and is presiding in the Civil Term. In 2019, Justice Ventura served as a Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York in Queens County.

Prior to Justice Ventura’s service on the bench, she was a partner at the law firm of Ahmuty, Demers & McManus. Justice Ventura was also a former Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office and was a former prosecutor for the Queens District Attorney’s Office. She additionally served in the New York State Senate in various capacities, including Special Counsel to the New York State Senate Majority Conference, Counsel for Latino and Immigrant Affairs and Deputy Chief of Staff overseeing the Policy and Finance departments.

Justice Ventura currently serves on the board of the Latino Judges Association, has served on several bar associations, was the first Latina to serve as an officer of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York and was the first Latina to serve as President of the venerable Queens County Women’s Bar Association. Justice Ventura is also past President of the Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County.

Justice Ventura has been the recipient of numerous local, and state, awards and citations for exemplary community service and outstanding citizenship. On May 15, 2003, Congressional representative, Charles Rangel read Justice Ventura’s achievements into the Congressional Record and on March 6, 2020, Justice Ventura was the recipient of a Medal of Merit bestowed by the President of the Dominican Republic in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Justice Ventura is a graduate of the SUNY Buffalo Law School and is an emeritus member of the Dean’s Advisory Council. Justice Ventura is admitted to the state bar in both New York and the District of Columbia, and admitted to the federal bar in the Southern, Eastern, and Western districts of New York State and the United States Supreme Court.



Hon. Felicia Pitts-Davis was recently elected as Syracuse City Court Judge.


NYC Supreme Court - Civil Term, Bronx County

Hon. Kim Adair Wilson was elected in 2020 to State Supreme Court in The Bronx. Her distinguished career in the New York state court system has spanned three decades. She served as a court attorney at the Law Department, in the Supreme Court, Civil Branch, Bronx County, and was cross-designated as a Special Referee for Election Matters conducting formal hearings to determine under state law if a candidate can legally obtain nomination for state or city-wide office. She was elected as a Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York, in 2013. Upon election to the bench, she was assigned, in January 2014, to Bronx Criminal Court sitting there for 3% years and was responsible, along with five other new judges, for reducing the backlog of cases. She was re-appointed, in July 2017, to Bronx Civil Court sitting there for 3 years and was entrusted with a high volume of matters on the docket, such as liens, torts, evictions, debts. In that capacity, Judge Wilson presided at jury trials of, and handled, the full range of cases.

Born in Manhattan, reared in Brooklyn, New York, upon graduation from Erasmus Hall High School, Judge Wilson excelled at Boston College, located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. She graduated cum laude from Boston College with a major in political science. A future advocate for justice, she moved from Boston back to New York, where she received her Juris Doctor degree from Hofstra University School of Law, Hempstead, New York. She has returned to her alma mater to mentor law students. She is a former attorney with the New York City Department of Investigation. As an Investigative Attorney, she initiated investigations involving corruption, misconduct or improper activities by city officials, employees or contractors.

Her legal expertise lead her to be a past two-term president of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (of the Greater New York metropolitan area), and a past elected national officer of the National Bar Association, Washington, D.C.
Judge Wilson is listed in Who's Who Among African Americans, 32 nd Edition; featured in "Ebony Magazine;" and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a sisterhood of predominantly Black, college educated women.


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