Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Noach Dear, the 66-year-old former Borough Park Councilman, died on April 19 from coronavirus-related complications.
First elected to Kings County’s civil court in 2008, Dear was elevated to the Supreme Court in 2010 — where he developed a reputation for his fierce defense against harassment from debt collectors, and his advocacy for racial justice in policing policies.
Prior to his time on the bench, Dear had served in the City Council from 1983 until he was barred from seeking reelection by term-limits in 2001.
Following his death, politicians and politicos from around the five boroughs took to social media to share their tributes to the one-man “political institution.”
“Noach Dear was unforgettable. He had a fighting spirit and always put his constituents first,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “On behalf of his city, I offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and the people of Midwood, Borough Park and Bensonhurst who he so dutifully served.”
Kalman Yeger, who now holds the council seat that Dear formerly occupied, reflected on the “numbing news” of Dear’s passing and his years of public service.
“Awful, numbing news. The passing of my predecessor Justice Noach Dear is impossible to digest,” said Yeger. “Compassionate, funny, pragmatic, always patient & loved people. His lifelong public service touched many thousands.”
Rudy Giuliani — the former New York City mayor and current Donald Trump confidant — praised Dear’s legacy as a sincere civil servant on behalf of his constituents.
“I am very saddened personally and for our City,” said Giuliani. “His commitment to his community and to the State of Israel was second to none. As a Democrat in the City Council, he was able to put politics aside and support me when he thought I was right.”
Judge Dear’s coronavirus-related passing comes amid accusations that the state failed to halt court operations early enough to prevent the spread of the novel virus.
In-person proceedings were still in full effect until weeks after the virus hit New York, and now several judges have been infected, and multiple have died — including Dear and fellow Brooklyn jurist Johnny Lee Baynes.
Courts have since been largely shuttered, with only minimal video conference-based operations for emergency matters — although court operators are now rolling out video conferencing for non-essential proceedings, such as plea deals.