In an historic vote, New York City Council has voted unanimously to confirm Caribbean-born jurist Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix as the city’s new corporation counsel.
By voting 51-0, the Council on Thursday created history in making Barbadian Hinds-Radix the first Caribbean-born woman to serve in that capacity in New York City’s history.
As Corporation Counsel, Hinds-Radix, whose last position was associate justice of the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department, will lead the City’s Law Department, which is primarily responsible for providing legal representation to the city, the mayor, other elected officials, and City agencies in all affirmative and defensive civil litigation.
In early January, newly-elected New York City Mayor Eric Adams appointed Justice Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix as the City’s Corporation Counsel.
Justice Hinds-Radix, who was appointed Associate Justice of the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department in 2012, conducted the Mayor’s swearing-in ceremony, on Jan. 2, 2022, at the Times Square New Year’s Celebration in midtown Manhattan.
Adams applauded the City Council for confirming Justice Hinds-Radix, as well as Jocelyn Strauber as the commissioner of the Department of Investigation (DOI).
“I thank the Council for recognizing the tremendous talent and experience Justice Hinds-Radix and Ms. Strauber will bring to their respective roles by voting to confirm them to lead the Law Department and the Department of Investigation today,” said Adams in a statement.
“I made a commitment that our administration will be guided by the values of accountability, transparency and fidelity to the highest ethical standards,” he added. “I look forward to working with these two individuals to ensure we live up to that commitment, and ‘Get Stuff Done’ on behalf of all New Yorkers.”
In appointing Justice Hinds-Radix in January, Adams, the second Black man to become Mayor of New York City after the late David N. Dinkins, said the jurist “has not only the brilliant legal mind but also the emotional intelligence needed to lead the department as our next Corporation Counsel.
“I congratulate her on her history-making appointment,” Adams said.
Hinds-Radix – an eminent jurist, who, in 2020, was designated a member of the New York State Constitutional Bench – was elated with her confirmation.
“I’m very excited, and I’m thankful that I was nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council,” Justice Hinds-Radix told Caribbean Life exclusively on Friday. “And I look forward to serving as Corporation Counsel and serving the City of New York with integrity and fairness to ensure that this City is a fair and just City for all New Yorkers.
“I have been on the bench for 20 years. I had the opportunity to serve as a judge, but I’m looking forward to this new role and to deal with issues of policy and law,” she added. “I’ve also done public service, and I look forward to continue serving in that role.”
Prior to her appointment to the Appellate Division, Justice Hinds-Radix served as Administrative Judge for Civil Matters in the Second Judicial District for three and a half years.
In her capacity as Administrative Judge, she oversaw both the New York State Supreme Court, Civil Term and the New York City Civil Court, which also encompasses the Housing Court of the City of New York.
Hinds-Radix, the first and current president of the Brooklyn-based Caribbean American Lawyers Association (CALA), was elected to the Supreme Court, Kings County (Brooklyn) in November of 2004, and served as a New York City Civil Court Judge, from 2002 through 2004, spending her first year in the Criminal Court of Kings County.
She began her legal career at District Council (DC) 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services, where she was a supervising attorney. DC 37 is the largest union representing municipal workers in New York City.
In February 2021, New York’s Unified Court System’s Committee to Celebrate Black History Month, The Tribune Society, Inc., and the Judicial Friends Association bestowed the Hon. Theodore “Ted” Jones Lifetime Achievement Award on Justice Hinds-Radix.
Justice Hinds-Radix received the award during the groups’ annual Black History Month celebration.
Brooklyn-born Theodore Theopolis Jones, Jr. (March 10, 1944 – Nov. 6, 2012) was a judge on New York State’s Court of Appeals.
In July 2020, Justice Hinds-Radix, a graduate of Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C., was elected president of CALA.
On her election at the time, she said she epitomized the statement, “it takes a village to raise a child,” by the outstanding work she does in giving back to her own community.
A staunch advocate for children’s education, every Saturday morning, Justice Hinds-Radix said she and her family tutor young people at the Brooklyn-based Barbados Ex-Police Association.
She is also a former President of the Nathan K. Sobel American Inns of Court, the Second Vice President of The Judicial Friends, a Board Member of the Women in the Courts Committee and a member of the Board of Directors for the St. Gabriel’s Senior Citizens Center and the St. John’s Bread and Life Agency in Brooklyn.
Justice Hinds-Radix served as the president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association and the Supreme Court Justice of the City of New York.
She is also a member of several organizations, including the Brooklyn Bar Association; the New York State Association of Supreme Court Justices; the New York State Bar Association; Catholic Lawyers Guild; Columbian Lawyers of Brooklyn; the Association of Black Women Attorneys; the New York County Lawyers Association; JALBCA; Puerto Rican Bar Association; Latino Judges Association; The Tribune Society; the Metropolitan Black Bar Association; the National Bar Association’s Judicial Section; and the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., as well as being an active participant in several workshops conducted at the Judicial Institute.
Justice Hinds-Radix is the recipient of many awards, including The Gold Crown of Merit, which was conferred on her by the Governor General of Barbados on the nation’s celebration of its 39th anniversary of its independence, one of the nation’s highest honors.
She has also been honored with the Shirley Chisholm Award, in honor of the late Caribbean American congresswoman, of Barbadian and Guyanese parentage, awarded to Justice Hinds-Radix by the Barbados Consulate in New York in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Barbados’ Independence.
Among other awards, Justice Hinds-Radix received the 2019 New York State Bar Association’s Diversity Trailblazer Award.
Justice Hinds-Radix earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts; her Master’s degree in political science from Long Island University in New York; and her Juris Doctorate (JD), law degree, from Howard University School of Law.
In addition to being admitted to practice law in the State of New York, Justice Hinds-Radix is also admitted to the United States Federal Court: Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
Justice Hinds-Radix is married to Grenadian-born dentist, Dr. Joseph Radix, and they are the proud parents of three daughters, one of whom, Jovia, is also a lawyer. The Radixes reside in Brooklyn.