Office of the Governor - March 24, 2009
GOVERNOR PATERSON APPOINTS JUSTICE LUIS A. GONZALEZ AS PRESIDING JUSTICE OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION, FIRST JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Governor David A. Paterson today announced the historic appointment of Justice Luis A. Gonzalez to serve as Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the First Judicial Department. Justice Gonzalez has been an Associate Justice on the Appellate Division, First Department for the last seven years. He has held a variety of civil, criminal and administrative judicial posts. He was the Administrative Judge of the Bronx Supreme Court from January 1999 to March 2002. In 1998, he served on the Appellate Term, First Department, and from 1993 to 1997 was a Justice of the Supreme Court, Bronx County. He was an Acting Justice in that same court in 1992 and from 1987 to 1992 was a Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York. From 1985 to1986 he was in the Housing Part of the Civil Court, and prior to that was a Hearing Officer with the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. From 1980 to 1981 Mr. Gonzalez was General Counsel of the South Bronx Community Housing and Development Corporation and from 1978 to 1980 was General Counsel to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as legal counsel to the National Director. Mr. Gonzalez was in private practice from 1976 to 1978 and was an Investigator with the New York City Department of Investigation from 1975 to 1976.
Justice Gonzalez, who is the first Latino to be appointed to this position, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Mennonite University in 1968 and his Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law in 1975. “Throughout his career, Justice Gonzalez has displayed the strength of character and profound respect for the law that makes him an outstanding choice,” said Governor Paterson. “Justice Gonzalez has a compelling and inspiring life story and I have no doubt that he will continue to serve New Yorkers with great distinction. He is a true leader” Justice Luis A. Gonzalez said: “I am humbled and grateful to the Governor for entrusting in me the stewardship of the Appellate Division, First Department. I am committed and dedicated to preserving the preeminence that this court enjoys in the legal community. I am very much aware of the historical importance of this appointment and his trust and faith, I repeat, will always be appreciated.”
The First Department Judicial Screening Committee submitted seven names, each a sitting member of the court, to the Governor, all of whom were deemed “highly qualified.” All of the seven candidates displayed integrity, independence, leadership, intellect, legal ability, judgment, temperament and experience. Governor Paterson added: “I was presented with outstanding candidates from which to choose and I salute each of them. Justice Gonzalez will assume leadership of a very talented and tremendously significant court.” Under the New York State Constitution and Judiciary Law, the Governor has the authority to appoint the Presiding Justice of each Appellate Division from among those who have been elected as Justices of the Supreme Court. The Governor’s appointment is not subject to Senate confirmation. The annual salary for the Presiding Justice is $147,600.