Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Former New York Court of Appeals Judge Howard A. Levine [mini-presentation]

By Addie Lancaster
Addie Lancaster is a second-year student at Albany Law School. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, where she studied Psychology, Human Development, and Family Science. Through her undergraduate experiences, she gained a passion for the family system, both socially and legally. Because of this, she intends to practice family law after graduation.
After completing her first year, Addie worked as an intern at the Saratoga County District Attorney’s office, where she learned about the criminal court system and litigation practice. The following semester, Addie served as a legal intern with the Family Violence Litigation Clinic at the Albany Law School Justice Center. She was responsible for interviewing, counseling, advocating, and representing clients in family court who have been victims of domestic violence. Her ultimate goal is to assist those in need of family representation. After Addie’s second year she will continue to do family law work as an intern with the New York Office of Children and Family Services.

Judge Howard A. Levine began his legal career at Yale Law School, graduating in 1956. For a few years after graduation, he worked in a private firm in New York City, litigating commercial and federal matters. Soon after, he returned to his home of Schenectady County to work as an Assistant District Attorney. He started off litigating low-level crimes, such as traffic violations, before working his way up. In 1966, Judge Levine was elected to be the Schenectady County District Attorney. He held this position until 1970.

After gaining valuable trial experience, Judge Levine’s legal career shifted. In 1971, he took his first judicial role as the Schenectady County Family Court Judge. He took this position very seriously and was highly regarded due to his strong commitment to improving child welfare and juvenile justice. He received many awards for his work and in 1987, the New York State Bar Association created the Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare. He left a legacy in the area of family law that is still being recognized today.

In 1981, after ten years as a Family Court Judge, Judge Levine became a New York Supreme Court Judge in the 4th Judicial District. He held this position for about a year, before moving to the 3rd Department of the Appellate Division in 1982. Both his legal career and reputation continued to flourish. Due to his stellar work within the New York court system, Judge Levine was appointed to the New York Court of Appeals in 1993 by Governor Mario Cuomo.

Judge Levine authored some notable cases during his ten years on the Court of Appeals. He was very thoughtful and careful while contemplating the issues in front of him. His decision-making process remained the same whether the issue seemed to be straightforward or more complex. He never let personal politics or judicial activism influence his decisions. He remained loyal to the law and sought to be as objective as possible. Judge Levine’s level-headed temperament and commitment to the law are what make him a particularly noteworthy and respected judge.

To view Addie Lancaster’s mini-presentation on Judge Levine, click HERE.