A trailblazing judge, an innovative court administrator and respected state tax law expert are the 2013 recipients of the Excellence in Public Service Awards, given by the Committee on Attorneys in Public Service of the New York State Bar Association.

The annual awards recognize public-sector attorneys who demonstrate a "higher calling" by an extraordinary commitment to service, honor and integrity. Recipients received their awards on January 22 in New York City during the Annual Meeting of the State Bar Association.

"This year's recipients have devoted their entire legal careers to the people of New York. Their decisions, advocacy and pursuits of justice have affected millions of New Yorkers," said Catherine A. Christian of New York City (assistant district attorney, New York County), chair of the Committee on Attorneys in Public Service. "They represent the best and proudest traditions of public service."

The 2013 recipients are:

Hon. Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick

Judge Ciparick was the first Hispanic and second woman to serve on the Court of Appeals, New York's highest court. She retired as senior associate justice in December 2012, after serving on the Court since January 1994.

Ciparick was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1982, where she served until her appointment to the Court of Appeals. In 1978, she was appointed judge of the New York City Criminal Court, making her the first Hispanic woman to serve on a court of record in New York, and one of the state's youngest judges.

She began her legal career as a staff attorney with The Legal Aid Society in the predominantly Spanish-speaking South Bronx. She later served as an assistant counsel for the Judicial Conference of the State of New York; chief law assistant of the New York City Criminal Court; and counsel to the New York City administrative judge.

Hon. Judy Harris Kluger

Judge Kluger, chief of policy and planning for New York State's Unified Court System, has been an instrumental figure in the development and implementation of problem-solving courts, which are designed to address underlying problems (such as mental health, drug addiction or prostitution) that contribute to criminal behavior.

She presided over the Midtown Community Court from 1993 to 1996. The court received wide acclaim for handling quality-of-life crimes.

She was appointed administrative judge of the New York City Criminal Court in 1996 and later named deputy chief administrative judge for court operations and planning.

Judge Kluger began her career as an assistant district attorney in Kings County. She later was named bureau chief of the Sex Crimes and Domestic Violence Bureau and chief of the Criminal Court Bureau. She was appointed to the New York City Criminal Court in 1988.

Deborah Liebman

Liebman, deputy counsel for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, is recognized as one of the state's leading authorities on the most complex tax law matters. She hasĀ  been with the department since 1981.

She frequently is called upon by the Executive Branch to assist with negotiating and drafting changes to state tax laws. She was involved with nearly every change to the tax laws during the past decade.

Colleagues praised her effective leadership and her ability to explain complex tax issues to the benefit of New York businesses and individuals.

The 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.


Contact: Brandon J. Vogel
Media Writer