In 2017, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Edwina Mendelson was appointed to head the newly expanded New York State Unified Court System’s Office for Justice Initiatives, tasked with ensuring meaningful access to justice for all New Yorkers in civil, criminal, and family courts, regardless of income, background, or special needs. Additionally, Judge Mendelson leads the Equal Justice in Courts Initiative.
Judge Mendelson also directs several juvenile and family justice initiatives, including the New York State Unified Court System’s Child Welfare Court Improvement Project, its Advisory Council on Child Fatalities, the ongoing implementation of the seminal law raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York State, and the Child Support and Guardianship Working Groups of the Unified Court System/New York State Bar Association’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force. Additionally, as a member of Chief Judge DiFiore’s Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts, Judge Mendelson serves on the Regulatory Innovation and Online Dispute Resolution Working Groups.
As of January 2021, Judge Mendelson now also oversees the Unified Court System’s Office of Policy & Planning, which is responsible for administering the state’s more than 300 problem-solving and accountability courts. Judge Mendelson was appointed to the Court of Claims by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2017 and remains active on the bench, conducting pro se trials in state correctional facilities.
Judge Mendelson, a graduate of CUNY Law School whose motto is “Law in the Service of Human Needs”, also holds a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice, and has been an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Hofstra Law School. She maintains active membership and leadership positions in bar association and court committees advancing professional development and system improvement in the delivery and quality of justice services.
Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives, NYS Office of Court Administration