New York State Court of Appeals Associate Judge Madeline Singas swears in Joyce A. Smith as Acting Nassau County District Attorney on June 9, 2021. Smith becomes the first African American Nassau County District Attorney and third woman to hold the office. (Acting District Attorney Joyce A. Smith Official Photo)

The New York State Senate confirmed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pick for a vacant seat on the state’s Court of Appeals, former Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, on Tuesday. The next day, Singas swore in an acting district attorney, Joyce A. Smith, at the Nassau County Supreme Court building in Mineola.

Cuomo announced on May 25 his nomination of Singas, who had served as Nassau’s district attorney since 2018.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran issued a statement regarding Smith serving as the county’s acting district attorney, saying she is “a seasoned law enforcement veteran who has made history in becoming Nassau County’s first Black District Attorney.”

Smith, a prosecutor since 1996 who previously served with Singas in the district attorney’s office and before that, in the Bureau of Domestic Violence, spoke with pride about Singas, calling her “a mentor” and “one of the hardest working people in our office.”

“I’ve always admired her professionalism and her ethics, her standards, her decency, her morals, her unwavering support of victims and survivors,” Smith said. “She taught me so much about prosecuting intimate partner violence and showed me how to help people who have suffered that type of crime to go from their process of healing and eventually restorative justice.”

Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Kevan M. Abrahams (D-Freeport) also praised Singas for her work in Nassau.

“During her tenure, [Singas] presided over the relentless pursuit of MS-13, built upon the county’s signature enforcement of drunk and impaired-driving laws, and served an instrumental role in our regional response to the opioid crisis,” he said in a statement. “Her cerebral approach to law enforcement will serve her well on the Court of Appeals, and I join the members of the Minority Caucus in extending my congratulations and thanking her for more than five years of steady, determined leadership that helped to make Nassau County one of the nation’s safest regions.”

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