Black Westchester caught up with New York State Supreme Court Justice Sam D. Walker who is running for re-election, Sunday, October 11, 2020. Check out the interview where Judge Walker educated us all about his position and the entire court system.
About Sam D. Walker: Supreme Court Justice Sam D. Walker was born in Kingston, Jamaica, W.I. He attended Calabar and Meadowbrook High Schools before migrating to the United States in 1970 to further his education. He spent his freshman year at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama and later graduated from Herbert H. Lehman College (C.U.N.Y.), Bronx, New York in December 1975 with a B.A. in Biology.
Upon graduation Justice Walker was employed by Chesebrough-Pond’s Inc. as a Food Technologist, where he rose to the level of Senior Food Technologist. In 1979 he decided to change his career path to pursue a career in law. He then attended Howard University School of Law, graduating in 1982 with a Jurist Doctor degree and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1983 and the Patent Bar in 1984.
After graduating from Law School, Justice Walker worked at General Foods Corporation as a Patent Attorney and attained partnership within the Law Department. His responsibilities at General Foods included providing patent related legal services to the Meals, Breakfast and Beverage Divisions as well as providing counsel on a variety of general corporate matters. Justice Walker also had the privilege of representing General Foods on the Grace Commission in Washington D.C. (President’s Private Sector Survey) during the Reagan Administration.
In December 1988, Justice Walker was appointed by Mayor Ronald Blackwood to the position of Associate City Court Judge for the City of Mount Vernon. He held that position until December 1994, when Mayor Blackwood appointed him to a full-time City Court Judgeship and in November 1995, he was elected for a 10-year term, presiding over a broad spectrum of civil and criminal matters. During his tenure as Associate City Court Judge, he maintained a legal practice, concentrating in civil and criminal litigation, bankruptcy, surrogate and patent matters. Effective January 2, 2002, Justice Walker was assigned to the Family Court as an Acting Family Court Judge, presiding in the City of Yonkers.
In November 2002, Justice Walker was elected to the Westchester County Court and was the first Democrat of color to be elected to a Countywide position in the history of Westchester County. He helped to dispel the notion that blacks could not be elected outside of their local jurisdiction. In the County Court, Judge Walker presided over a wide variety of challenging and high profile civil and criminal cases.
Four years later, Justice Walker was elected to the New York State Supreme Court and from 2005 to 2009, he presided over the Westchester County Integrated Domestic Violence Court, handling highly sensitive matrimonial, criminal, and family court cases. The parties appearing before Justice Walker were often volatile and potentially dangerous individuals and his calm and respectful judicial demeanor facilitated resolutions of very difficult and complex cases. From 2009 to 2011, Justice Walker was assigned to the Matrimonial Part of the Supreme Court, where he presided over a wide variety of complex matrimonial cases. Justice Walker now sits in the Civil Part of the Supreme Court presiding over a wide variety of civil cases with varying levels of complexity, to include, personal injury, contracts, and medical malpractice, to name a few.
Justice Walker is a past president of the Westchester County Bar Association. He was the first person of color to lead that organization in its then 106-year history. He was a member of the Board of Visitors of Pace University School of Law for several years and was also a former member of the Grievance (Disciplinary) Committee for the 9th Judicial District of the Second Department. Justice Walker completed four terms in the House of Delegates for the New York State Bar Association and served two terms in the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association. He was a past president of the Westchester Black Bar Association and maintains membership in several other bar associations. He was also a member on the Board of Directors for Westchester Legal Services (Legal Services of the Hudson Valley), and an original board member for Food Patch (People Allied to Combat Hunger) among other organizations.
Currently, Justice Walker is the Supervising Judge of the Mortgage Foreclosure Part in the Supreme Court. He is also the Supervising Judge of the City Courts in the 9th Judicial District which includes, Westchester, Orange and Dutchess Counties. Furthermore, Justice Walker is the Chairperson of the Pro Bono Committee for the 9th Judicial District, where he oversees programs designed to provide legal services to the indigent, focusing mainly on assisting individuals who are losing their homes to foreclosure, as well as uncontested matrimonials, both with and without children. Justice Walker is constantly looking for ways to help the poor and less fortunate navigate the legal system.
Justice Walker is dedicated to helping young people avoid the entrapment of drug use and other crimes and has addressed these issues with young people in churches, schools and various other organizations. He always emphasizes the importance of pursuing an education, and encourages nonviolent means for resolving disputes.
Justice Walker possesses an excellent judicial temperament, which allows him to resolve disputes expeditiously. His greatest strength is his sensitivity to issues affecting those who feel alienated and helpless within our justice system and is able to assure them that the issues before the Court will be resolved impartially and efficiently. His goal is to make the Courts more “people sensitive.”
Justice Walker resides in Westchester County and has two adult children, Sam Douglas Walker II of Washington, D.C. and Shannon Walker-Mulira of Maryland.
For more information on NYS Supreme Court Judge Sam Walker check out his website.