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Working Families Party wades into BK judicial races, endorses public defender

The progressive Working Families Party is wading into Brooklyn’s judicial races, endorsing a left-leaning public defender in Central Brooklyn. 

The party tapped Legal Aid Society lawyer Marva Brown for Civil Court in the 2nd Municipal District, which covers parts of Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights — saying she would bring about a “more equitable legal system” while sitting on the bench. 

“Civil Court judges have the power to mold a more equitable legal system for our city, where New Yorkers are not penalized for poverty, immigration status, or race,” said WFP’s New York State Director Sochie Nnaemeka in a statement. “Marva understands this truth — because for her whole career, she’s seen the opposite play out in courtrooms across Brooklyn. She’s running for Judge in Municipal District 2 to turn things around and transform the court into a site of equal justice, and we’re proud to support her campaign.”

Brown was born in Westchester, raised in Albany, and has lived in Brooklyn since 2003. She began her career as a public defender in 2006 with the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, switching to the Bronx office in 2008 before moving to the Brooklyn branch in 2010, where she has worked ever since.

“I am truly humbled and honored to be endorsed by the Working Families Party. I know firsthand what the WFP has done for New Yorkers and have proudly voted down their line for years, so I am extremely proud of and thankful for this endorsement,” Brown said in a statement. “As the child of a teenage mother and an immigrant father, I have fought my entire legal career to protect the rights of the underserved and empower those who are often silenced. I am ready to be the judge that New Yorkers need to ensure that access to justice is not a privilege for a select few, but a promise to us all.”

Brown is running in a competitive primary for the seat on the Civil Court bench, which hears cases on monetary disputes of up to $25,000. Her opponents are Lisa Lewis, a staff attorney at public employees union District Council 37, and Lola Waterman, principal law clerk for Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Lisa Ottley.

The seat opened up after incumbent Judge Theresa Ciccotto was elected to Supreme Court in 2020; Ciccotto had been an acting Supreme Court Justice since 2017. Civil Court judges serve 10-year terms, and often move up to the state Supreme Court afterward.

There are also competitive primaries being held this year in Brooklyn for Surrogate Court, countywide Civil Court, and Civil Court in the 7th Municipal District, which includes parts of Bushwick and East New York.

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