Brooklyn Lawyers Applaud Judge’s New Venture
By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Patricia DiMango is known for her stylish outfits, assertive demeanor and legal acumen, and is set to leave the Brooklyn bench to explore a new career: a TV judge.
DiMango is slated to star in a new television series, “Hot Bench,” along with two California attorneys, Tanya Acker and Larry Bakman. Produced by Judge Judy Sheindlin —a TV judge herself with the highest-rated syndicated legal program — “Hot Bench” will portray DiMango, Acker and Bakman as together, they hear cases and make rulings from the bench.
The majority, if not all, judicial television shows have one sitting judge hear arguments and dispense verdicts. “Hot Bench” shifts away from this formula and will have the parties argue in front of a three-judge panel, almost as if the arguments were taking place in front of an appellate court.
“When my husband Jerry and I were in Ireland recently, we visited the courts and watched a three-judge bench, which I found both fascinating and compelling," Scheindlin told the Hollywood Reporter. “I immediately thought what a terrific and unique idea for a television program that brings the court genre to the next level. We have assembled three individuals with extremely varied backgrounds to serve as the judges. They are smart and talented, with terrific instincts and great chemistry, and are sure to create a 'hot bench.' "
In choosing a television career, DiMango, who was recently appointed as Brooklyn’s Administrative Judge for Criminal Matters, leaves behind her fair share of admirers in the Brooklyn legal community.
“I am very very happy for her. This is a long time coming,” attorney James Meadows told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “Hon. DiMango has an incredible knowledge of the law and is well respected by everybody.”
Judge Barry Kamins, chief of policy and planning for New York City’s courts, recounted his enjoyment working with DiMango in the criminal court system. "It has been a pleasure to work with Justice DiMango over the past years as a colleague and friend,” Kamins said in an emailed statement. “She has been a dedicated and conscientious public servant who has worked tirelessly to improve the court system. We all wish her well in the next chapter in her life."
DiMango, known for her toughness, “often put pressure on criminal defendants and the criminal defense bar,” Douglas Schneider noted. Nevertheless, Schneider said, “she is a good judge and has the absolute right personality for this new gig. I think she has a great personality for television.”
Her ability to get things done effectively and efficiently in her courtroom is exactly what caused the Office of Court Administration to request that DiMango lead a task force geared to clearing the backlog in the Bronx. “I hope she's really happy,” Steve Hubert told the Eagle. “It is not the normal track for a judge to take, but this [television career] appears to be something that Hon. DiMango may have wanted for some time.”
CBS Television Distribution, the show’s distributor, has not indicated exactly when “Hot Bench” will debut. And while the air date is undetermined, the interest in the show is “hot,” having already sold in 75 percent of the television markets in the United States.
“Justice DiMango, who had a long and distinguished career in Brooklyn’s courts, will be missed,” noted Andrew Fallek, president of the Brooklyn Bar Association. “We look forward to seeing the show.”
As DiMango prepares for her television and national debut, she will always be knows and the judge with the “brains” and the “wit,” attorney Samuel Gregory expressed to the Eagle.
“It's Brooklyn's loss and LA's gain," Meadows concluded.