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September 26th, 2006

Justice David Cohen for Civil Court Judge

by D. Clark MacPherson

It’s rare that you can meet with a sitting judge where he lives and come away with feeling that you had just had a chat with one of the neighbors. But meeting David Cohen is the kind of experience that reinforces a feeling that this is one of the people who you want to have sitting on the bench. Without being folksy, he comes across as someone who is clearly passionate about what he does. He doesn’t just judge, he tries to help.

Cohen is a sitting Housing Court Judge who lives with his wife and two children on the Lower East Side. He has worked under Eliot Spitzer as an Assistant Attorney General and for seven years worked as Court Attorney to Justice Richard Price, State Supreme Court Justice. He has also worked as a volunteer, however, with the Volunteer Lawyers Project and has helped provide free assistance to tenants facing eviction. He has a broad understanding of the law and has used it not only to provide excellent service as a jurist but has also tried to benefit those in need in the community.

His own love of the law began with an incident that occurred when he was ten years old. His father had gotten a ticket and due to his father’s hearing impairment he had to appear in court with him before the judge. Cohen remembers being terrified and unfortunately, with no lawyer or interpreter to help, his father lost the case. What stayed with him about that experience was the fact that the system is not always fair. It was an awakening for David and one which has helped shape his future. A large part of what drives his legal career is the decision to help people with language and financial barriers to obtain the justice that we all expect from the American Judicial system.

David Cohen also spoke of the importance of a sitting judge and the affect his or her personality can have upon not only the outcome of a case but of the ability of those who come before him to defend their rights. He stresses that in his court; he attempts to reach those defendants who are fearful of the system and may not understand the law. And, in cases where landlords have failed to repair conditions in an apartment, he has sent HPD inspectors to verify compliance with court-ordered settlements. He smiled and explained that he is not shy about protecting the rights of the underprivileged in his courtroom.

He spoke of feeling good that he has been able to use an array of tools to support tenants’ rights: from Inspections to visits by Court employees, to abatement orders, and to Contempt citations for landlords who do not comply with directives.

Judge Cohen has been a Housing Court Judge for two years and will be an asset to the community as a Civil Court Judge. Having an open mind and listening to all sides of an issue, he has demonstrated his ability to become fully involved in assuring that the legal system, as conducted in his courtroom, is a level playing field where justice can be obtained by anyone.

For further information, see his website: or contact his campaign office at:

David Cohen

Filed Under: Articles | New York | Politics





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