NEW YORK, NY – Haitian American lawyer Cassandra Aimée Johnson, who has built her life’s work around helping others, says she is ready to sit as a judge in Civil Court in Queens, New York.
Johnson – the daughter of a Haitian immigrant who currently works as a Referee at the Supreme Court of Queens and, for the past 11 years, has conducted trials, settlement conferences, and mediation that she’s also written over 6,000 judicial decisions.
“I believe that a judge plays an integral role in supporting justice and is a position of service to the community,” she said. “I want to help people resolve their everyday disputes and make a real difference in their lives for the better.”
Raised in a union household in Southeast Queens, Johnson said her parents instilled in her the values of hard work, respect for others, and public service.
“These values are at the core of my call to serve Queens residents,” she said. “For me, it is essential that we have representation on the bench that is as diverse and reflects the people of our borough of Queens.
“Equally important is that the judicial system regains the public’s trust and confidence to provide access to justice and ensure justice is served,” she added. “To that end, an environment that supports open dialogue on complex and difficult conversations; and implementing and expanding unconscious bias education and training to help restore that confidence inequitable jurisprudence are changes we need to see.
“That is why I am running to represent our community as a Democrat for Civil Court Judge for the 4th Municipal District,” continued Johnson, stating that her main points of emphasis or campaign planks are to bring competence, justice, and fairness as a Civil Court judge.
“I want to help make the court less intimidating,” she said. “I think it’s important to treat people fairly and respectfully. I realize that cases do not appear in court, but rather people come to court as a last resort to resolve disputes. So, it is incumbent on the judge to make sure the parties understand what’s going on and feel like they’ve been heard, particularly as we come out of the pandemic and begin to reopen.”
Johnson would like to educate people on the impact courts have on their communities and inspire young people of color to become attorneys and judges, believing that a judge’s role is to create new and innovative ways to resolve disputes and provide access to justice.
“I believe the work I do in my current role, as a Court Attorney Referee, will prepare me to meet the challenges a Civil Court Judge would face,” she said. “Particularly, the work I have been doing in Supreme Court, Civil Term through unprecedented times has been especially challenging.”
But, despite these challenges, Johnson said she’s learned to adapt and create ways to make the virtual courtrooms accessible and have educated attorneys throughout the New York State on how to appear in court virtually for conferences and trials.
In addition, Johnson said she also brings years of work for the City of New York and private practice, “which provide me with a diversity of expertise, experience, and perspective.”
“I am prayerful and hopeful that people will exercise their privilege and come out to vote for me on Tuesday, Jun. 22nd, or during the early voting period from Jun. 12th to the 20th, or even by absentee ballot,” she said.
Johnson said she is working hard every day, attending events, hosting meet and greets, phone banking, and personally knocking on doors to let people know that she would like to serve.
She said she is also proud to have the support and endorsements of many elected officials, civic, faith-based, and community leaders.
As a Certified Mediator for civil and commercial matters, Johnson said her goal has been to preserve and repair relationships between parties and assist them in settling their disputes equitably and amicably.
She said her experience and the work that she’s done during the past decade and a half had prepared her for the role of judge, giving her the skills to oversee matters that come before the court.
Johnson said she had played a key leadership role in providing jurisprudence and the actual process of judicial decision-making.
Being raised by her parents in a Haitian American family, with a strong passion for justice and civic engagement, Johnson said she initially sought a career in engineering due to her love of math, but, following her mother’s footsteps, eventually chose a career in law and public service.
Johnson’s head was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2007 and the Connecticut State Bar in 2006.