Justice Janet C. Malone, a native of Barbados, has become the first black female justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Ninth Judicial District. That district comprises of Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester counties.
The induction ceremony was held last month at the Joseph F. Gagliardi Ceremonial Courtroom, Westchester County and presided over by administrative judge Alan D. Scheinkman.
During the special ceremony, Malone chronicled her journey from Barbados as an immigrant, hoping for better life. Her mother was the first to migrate to the United States where she worked three jobs, one of which supported the family of a lawyer, who in turn assisted with the migration of family members from Barbados. It was December 12, 1971 that young Malone arrived in New York.
Defying the odds and advice of school counselors to get a vocation, she dreamed big and set her sights on higher education. She attended Utica College of Syracuse, earning a bachelors of science in 1986, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the City University of New York, Queens College.
“No one can define you or set the narrative for you.” With instilled “perseverance, and God in your vessel you can weather any storm,” Malone said.
Before landing the job of Justice of the Supreme Court, Malone served as Assistant to the District Attorney, Manhattan office; private practicing attorney with Bozeman & Trott, LLP; family court judge, Westchester County and as an acting Supreme Court justice in the Ninth Judicial District.
Edwina Richardson Mendelson, acting justice of the NYS Supreme Court, Criminal Term, New York County, who met Malone at SUNY Law School, described her as “ bold, compassionate, kind, bossy, quite serious with an infectious laugh, commands respect, and one who knows there is no perfection but strives for it”.
These qualities, personal faith, commitment, belief in education, and support of an indelible family have been the drivers to her success.
“Mom, this day is for you! Hope I made you proud,” a humbled and honoured Malone said during her induction which was attended by New York State Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, and other public officials.
Delores Scott Brathwaite, Town Justice, Town Court of Greenburg administered the oath of office, while Malone’s husband George robed the new justice of the New York Supreme Court, Ninth Judicial District.