By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
After an hour long ceremony, the Brooklyn Supreme Court, Civil Term, unveiled the renovated courthouse wing, during a Law Day event at the courthouse on Wednesday. A plaque commemorates the memory of the late Judge Theodore T. Jones
“This is a fitting tribute to Judge Jones,” said Janice E. Taylor, Jones’ former law clerk. Jones’ family was unable to attend the ceremony and Taylor accepted the plaque on their behalf. “Judge Jones was a wonderful jurist and loved Brooklyn.”
Appellate Division, Second Department Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix cut the ribbon, as the new wing officially became part of the courthouse. The new wing features four courtrooms and back offices as well as New York’s largest consolidated facility dedicated exclusively to pre-trial litigation--what Administrative Judge for Civil Matters Lawrence Knipel, called the largest discovery complex in the nation.
“Discovery is a process that can take a very long time, sometimes even a matter of months, and we now have the largest discovery complex in the nation,” Knipel said. “This will help expedite litigation, which is important for the largest courthouse in the state.”
Jones was elected to the New York Supreme Court in 1989 where he served until he was appointed to the New York Court of Appeals by Governor Eliot Spitzer in 2007. He gained notoriety in 2005 for issuing an injunction to try to stop the transit strike that shut down the city's subways and buses for 60 hours. He eventually fined the Transit Workers Union $2.5 million for violating the Taylor Law and sent the union president, Roger Toussaint, to jail for 10 days for contempt of court.
The event began with the New York State Ceremonial Union, led by Lt. James Campbell. Court Officer Thorance Scott sang the national anthem.
Knipel gave a welcoming speech, after which Hon. Jenny Rivera, Hon. Randall T. Eng, Borough President Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, Brooklyn Bar Association president Domenick Napoletano, and NYC’s Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo gave brief remarks.
The keynote speaker was Administrative Judge for Criminal Matters Barry Kamins. Kamins he ran through a brief history of how law has improved the civil rights of many different races, genders, and creeds in the country.
Kamins also used the opportunity to talk about human trafficking, or what he called “modern day slavery”.
“Fifteen thousand people are trafficked in America each year and New York is ranked fourth in the amount of human trafficking cases,” Kamins said. “As we have learned from our nation’s past, the expansion of human rights is a long road, and the journey is hard.”
It was a touching moment for Hon. Michelle Weston as she presented Jones’ commemorative plaque. “I am truly honored to present this plaque,” Judge Weston said. “Judge Ted Jones was such a great presence at the courthouse and he made everyone before him feel at ease. No matter if he was ruling against you or not, you always walked away feeling like you got a fair shake.”