On April 5, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore presided over the investiture of three new judges to the New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s top appellate court.
The three judges — Madeline Singas, Anthony Cannataro, and Shirley Troutman — have been serving on the court since 2021, but COVID safety protocols have prevented an official ceremony until recently.
Singas, confirmed June 8, 2021, was raised in Astoria, Queens and attended the Bronx High School of Science. She is also a graduate of Barnard College at Columbia University and the Fordham University School of Law.
Singas has served as an attorney since 1991 and held the position of District Attorney of Nassau County from 2015 until her appointment to the Court of Appeals last year.
“To move in one generation from the impoverished war torn villages, in the mountains of northern Greece, to the warm inviting halls of this court of appeals, my journey has exceeded every dream that I or my family has ever imagined,” said Singas. “From my work, I have come to know the frailties of the human condition, and I know how the law impacts the individuals and families in our community. I continue to be driven by their expectation that the law will protect them and treat them fairly.”
Cannataro, also confirmed on June 8, 2021, is a resident of Washington Heights, Manhattan and is a graduate of Columbia University and the New York Law School. In 2018, he became the Administrative Judge for the Civil Court of New York, a position he held until his appointment to the Court of Appeals.
“What is the accumulated wisdom of my experience at this court so far? I’ll tell you. This job is really hard. The issues are incredibly important, usually of statewide significance, and always challenging. The law to be applied is layered and complex, and all too often, it is challenging to harmonize one’s sense of fairness with the requirements of the law,” Cannataro said. “We take on the hard questions here. So today, I view my oath more as a renewed promise to fully apply all of my training, my experience, and whatever ability I have in service to the people of the state of New York.”
Troutman, the newest of the appointees, was appointed in the fall of 2021 and confirmed on Jan 12, 2022. A graduate of SUNY Buffalo and Albany law School of Union University, Troutman also served as an Associate Judge for the New York State Supreme Court from 2016 until her confirmation to the Court of Appeals earlier this year.
Troutman is the second African-American woman and tenth woman to serve on the New York Court of Appeals.
“The first time I ever entered a courtroom it was this one, as a student. To be here as a member of the court is surreal,” said Troutman. “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps, we got there because someone helped us by pulling on our bootstraps. Thank you Gov. Hochul for the privilege of serving on the court of appeals, thank you for stretching out your hand to me.”
Troutman is Hochul’s first appointment to the Court of Appeals during her tenure as governor.
“Judge Shirley Troutman, who I’ve known for over 30 years and have the honor of appointing, you are a model for children and little girls everywhere,” said Hochul.
The seven judges of the Court of Appeals are nominated by the governor, confirmed by the state Senate, and serve 14-year terms.
In addition to the three judges formally installed last week, the court’s remaining judges include Jenny Rivera, nominated by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2013; Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, nominated by Cuomo in 2015; Michael Garcia, nominated by Cuomo in 2016; and Rowan Wilson, nominated by Cuomo in 2017.