Tributes for Judge Abdus-Salaam by Law Enforcement Leaders and Elected Officials

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The late Sheila Abdus-Salaam

Tributes and condolences continued today for State Court of Appeals Judge, Sheila Abdus-Salaam, whose body was found in the Hudson river yesterday.

"Although her cause of death is still under investigation, her tremendous career as a fair judge has been a vital part of her legacy," said Diana C. Richardson, New York State Assemblywoman. "The community will never forget this trailblazer who was the first of many things, as well as, the first female Muslim judge, whose decisions in the state legal system exemplified unprejudiced principles."

"In her we have lost a public servant, a leader, and a woman with an immutable moral code. Salaam's contributions to our community will forever have a lasting impact on the many lives she touched as a champion of impartiality."

"The passing of Justice Abdus-Salaam is an enormous loss for New York, our judiciary, and all who knew, respected, and loved her," said Eric T. Schneiderman, New York State Attorney General. "Justice Abdus-Salaam was not simply a trailblazer as the first Muslim female judge in the United States and the first African-American woman on the New York Court of Appeals. During her time on the bench, Justice Abdus-Salaam earned the respect of all who appeared before her as a thoughtful, thorough, and fair jurist. I join all those who knew Justice Abdus-Salaam in mourning this terrible loss."

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the untimely death of Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam, a true pioneer and leader in the justice system," said Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney.

"In February, I had the great privilege of appearing before her in a matter being argued at the Court of Appeals. Over the course of her unparalleled, 25-year career as a jurist, first in State Supreme Court in New York County, and later in the Appellate Division, First Department, countless attorneys in my Office have argued before her. The first Black woman to be appointed to a seat on New York’s highest court, she lived up to her reputation of being smart, principled, and rigorously fair. Justice Abdus-Salaam leaves a void not only on the State’s highest bench, but in the criminal justice system as a whole. On behalf of the entire Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, I would like to express my deepest condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues.”

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