First Female Muslim Judge on the New York Court of Appeals Found Dead on Hudson River Shore

 In Domestic

The body of Sheila Abdus-Salaam, 65, the New York Court of Appeals’ first female Muslim judge, was found washed up on the short of the Hudson River on Wednesday. She was found on the Manhattan side of the river, about a mile from her Harlem home.

“Being a judge is an honor and involves tremendous responsibility to the litigants and to society.” Sheila Abdus-Salaam

Her husband had reported her missing on Tuesday, according to the New York Daily News, while the New York Post stated she was reported missing “earlier in the day.”

Her husband was brought in to identify the body. Police found no obvious signs of trauma to her that would indicate foul play. Authorities are working to find the cause of death. It was suggested by the New York Post that it may have been suicide, but no other media has suggested that.

In addition to being the first black female judge on New York’s court of Appeals, she was the first female Muslim judge on the New York Court. She was appointed by Governor Cuomo in 2013.

Some reactions to her death from the Governor of New York, and a legislator: reported,

“On Abdus-Salaam’s official profile at the New York Courts website, it says that the late justice was born Sheila Turner in Washington D.C. in March 1952. Her interest in the law began with TV shows such as a Perry Mason. However, it was only after meeting still living civil rights lawyer, Frankie Muse Freeman, while Abdus-Salaam was still at high school that law school beckoned. Abdus-Salaam said of the meeting, “She was riveting . . . she was doing what I wanted to do: using the law to help people.”

Abdus-Salaam first attended Barnard College in New York City before graduating from law school at Columbia University in 1977. From there, Abdus-Salaam went to work at East Brooklyn Legal Services. In 1980, Abdus-Salaam began her career in government when she became an Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Department of Law, Civil Rights and Real Estate Financing Bureaus.”

Though she had been through a divorce in her life, friends stated that she seemed happy at this time.

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