Nassau County Judge Helen Voutsinas was appointed by Governor Kathy Hochul to manage the mid-level appeals court calls from 10 downstate counties including Nassau and Suffolk.
The appointment of Voutsinas, 47, was announced Friday afternoon by the Hochul office. The court is the second department of the appeal division. New York State is divided into four.
the court is located in Brooklyn Heights, with jurisdiction over both Long Island counties, as well as Richmond, Kings, Queens, Westchester, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Putnam counties.
As of 2019, Voutsinas has served as an appellate judge for Nassau County, and prior to that, she served as a county district court judge. She was elected in 2018 as a county judge. She has also served as president of the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association and the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association. A 1999 graduate of St. John’s University Law School, Voutsinas worked in private practice from 1999 to 2001, Assistant City Attorney for North Hempstead from 2001 to 2003, Assistant Majority Counsel for the County Legislature in 2004, then senior legal assistant to a judge.
Voutsinas did not respond to emails and voicemails seeking comment on Friday afternoon. An appeal to its judicial chambers was returned by Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the state justice system; he did not immediately schedule an interview.
Hochul’s other appointments announced Friday to the Second Department, according to a press release from his office: Janice Taylor, a Queens Supreme Court justice since 1998 and former president and current chair of the board of directors of the Macon B. Allen Black Bar Association, an organization of black lawyers; Lillian Wan, judge since January of the Supreme Court of Kings County in Brooklyn and outgoing president of the Asian American Judges Association of New York; and Barry Warhit, a Westchester County Supreme Court Justice since 2019, a member of the executive committee of the Justice Brandeis Law Society, a Jewish bar association.
State Senate confirmation is not required for these appointments to the Appellate Division, which is lower than the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.
During Voutsinas’ time on the bench, she handled a series of cases, including one in April involving allegations of puppy shops in Lynbrook and Hicksville selling sick dogs (Voutsinas, denying part of the complaint but leaving the others rise, allowed the company to resume, but with conditions), and another in December regarding the Long Island Rail Road’s $2.6 billion Third Track project and its dispute with Village Garden City, which n Didn’t like where the railroad was putting up utility poles and delaying the project. (She ordered the village to grant the necessary permits for the project to go ahead.)
In 2014, she presided over celebrity former lawyer Dominic Barbara’s guilty plea in a case stemming from an alleged theft of a wallet from a store and a domestic dispute with his ex-wife. (Voutsinas issued parole but no jail time.)
In 2006, as president of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association, she tried to help shape a part-time work policy after Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice changed his predecessor’s policies and told a dozen part-time lawyers in his office — many working mothers — to either quit or go full-time.
“It’s definitely not a food fight with the prosecutor,” Voutsinas said at the time. “It has become a problem and needs to be explored.”