Death of NY first female Muslim U.S. judge found in Hudson River reportedly ‘suspicious’
The death of the first female Muslim U.S. judge—who was found dead last week on the banks of New York’s Hudson River— is still being investigated and is reportedly considered suspicious.
Sheila Abdus-Salaam’s body was discovered along the riverside near Harlem on Wednesday, a day after she was reported missing, police said. Police said her body showed no obvious signs of trauma.
Police sources told CBS2 that family and friends have said she was struggling with depression. Police told the station that although her death is being considered suspicious, there are no signs of criminality.
Abdus-Salaam, who was 65 years old, graduated from Barnard College and received her law degree from Columbia Law School. She started her career as a staff attorney for East Brooklyn Legal Services and served as a judge in Manhattan state Supreme Court for 14 years, according to the state Office of Court Administration’s website.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who appointed Abdus-Salaam to the state’s Court of Appeals in 2013, called her a “trailblazing jurist.”
“As the first African-American woman to be appointed to the state’s Court of Appeals, she was a pioneer,” Cuomo said. “Through her writings, her wisdom and her unshakable moral compass, she was a force for good whose legacy will be felt for years to come.”
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said her colleague will be “missed deeply.”
“Her personal warmth, uncompromising sense of fairness and bright legal mind were an inspiration to all of us who had the good fortune to know her,” DiFiore said.
Former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said he knew Abdus-Salaam for many years. He said her death of was “difficult to understand.”
“The court has suffered a terrible blow,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
April 19th, 2017