JUDGE RACHEL KRETSER was appointed to the Albany City Criminal Court in December 2005, and was elected to that position in November 2006, becoming the first woman ever to serve full time on a criminal court bench in the Third Judicial District. Before her ascension to the bench, Judge Kretser was an Assistant Attorney General for more than twenty-five years, serving in the Litigation Bureau, as Deputy Bureau Chief of the Legislative Bureau, and the Bureau Chief of both the Albany Consumer Frauds Bureau and the Legal Education and Staff Development Bureau. Prior to joining the Attorney General's Office, Judge Kretser was associated with the Manhattan law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
Judge Kretser is active in numerous professional and community organizations. She is Vice President of the National Association of Women Judges, N.Y. Chapter, and Incoming President of the N.Y.S. Association of City Court Judges. She is also an officer of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Judicial Section. In 2003, she was elected Vice President of NYSBA, representing the Third Judicial District and was re-elected to that position each year through the 2009 term. She was President of the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York from 1995 - 1996 and President of the Capital District Women's Bar Association (CDWBA) from 1991 - 1992. Judge Kretser is a founding member of the CDWBA Legal Project and the Women's Bar Foundation, and is a Fellow of the New York State Bar Association. A former Director of the Fund for Modern Courts, she also serves on the Board of the Center for Women in Government and the Honorary Board of the Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Association. Judge Kretser is a member of the Albany County Bar Association, the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association and the Women Pilots Association. She serves on the steering committee of the Brandeis Baruch Society and a member of UJF.
Judge Kretser was appointed to a number of state and federal judicial screening panels as well as Office of Court Administration (OCA) committees. In 1993, she was apointed by then-Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Joseph J. Traficanti, Jr. to the OCA Committee on City Courts, and was reappointed to that committee by Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Jan Plumadore in 2008. in 1994, she was appointed to the Federal Bankruptcy Judge Merit Selection Panel by Jon O. Newman, Chief Judge of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Kretser was appointed by former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye to the Third Department Judicial Screening Panel in 1996, and served on that committee for ten years. In 1997, she was appointed to the Third Judicial District Litigation Task Force by Hon. Joseph Teresi; and was appointed to the Northern District Magistrate Selection Committee in 2001 by Hon. Frederick Scullin, Jr., Chief U.S. District Judge for the Northern District. Judge Kretser was appointed to the Third Judicial District Gender Fairness Committee in 1988 by Justice Karen Peters and reappointed by Justices George Ceresia and Leslie Stein.
Through her public service and volunteer activities, Judge Kretser has worked to provide increased access to legal services for victims of abuse and to expand education and services for breast cancer victims. In recognition of her dedication to the profession and to the community, she has received a number of prestigious awards including the Ruth Shapiro Memorial Award from the New York State Bar Association, the Marilyn Menge Award from the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York, the Women of Excellence Award from the Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce, the Kate Stoneman Award from Albany Law School, the Distinguished Member Award from the Capital District Women's Bar Association, and the Distinguised Service Award from the New York State Attorney General.
Judge Kretser is a licensed private pilot.