Chief Judge Janet DiFiore appointed Hon. Richard Rivera as Co-Chair of the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission on February 28, 2022. Judge Rivera succeeds Hon. Shirley Troutman as Commission Co-Chair upon her appointment as Associate Judge on the New York State Court of Appeals. Judge Rivera currently serves as Supervising Family Court Judge, Third Judicial District, Albany County Family Court, and Acting Supreme Court Justice, Third Judicial District. Judge Rivera has been a longstanding dedicated member of the Commission since 2015. He has remarked, “It is my privilege to serve as Co-Chair to continue the tremendous legacy of the Williams Commission in its efforts to address systemic racism within the courts. I look forward to collaborative endeavors with the court and legal community to develop programs and initiatives to improve the perception of fairness within the Court system, ensure a pipeline to a diverse legal profession and judiciary and ensure equal justice for all communities.”
Judge Rivera began his career on the bench in November 2014 when he was elected to Albany County Family Court, becoming the first person of color elected to a countywide bench and the first Latino elected to any bench in the entire Third Judicial District. On February 27, 2017, Judge Rivera was appointed to preside over the newly created Domestic Violence Part at the Albany County Family Court. Judge Rivera also presides over the Albany County Youth Part since its creation in 2018 pursuant to the Raise the Age legislation. On January 1, 2019, Judge Rivera was designated Acting Supreme Court Justice for the Third Judicial District and was named as the first Supervising Judge for Domestic Violence Courts and Mentor Courts in the District.
Judge Rivera began his legal career as an associate counsel for the Law Office of Gaspar M. Castillo, Esq., where he represented litigants in local, city and town courts, handling criminal matters, traffic violations and appeals. He later became staff counsel for the Albany Law School Family Violence Clinic. As staff counsel, Judge Rivera represented victims of domestic violence with all matters pertaining to orders of protection, custody, and support. Judge Rivera also served as an Attorney for Children in both Albany and Rensselaer counties; Assistant Conflict Defender representing litigants in family and criminal courts; Assistant County Attorney, prosecuting Juvenile Delinquents and PINS and as a Support Magistrate.
Judge Rivera currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the National Consortium on Racial & Ethnic Fairness in the Courts.
Judge Rivera is a graduate of Colgate University and Albany Law School.