NEW YORK (AP) — A prominent judge found in the Hudson River died by suicide in a drowning, according to findings issued by the city’s medical examiner on Wednesday.
A police harbor unit recovered the body of 65-year-old Sheila Abdus-Salaam in April after she was reported missing. Initially after her body was found, family and friends raised the possibility of foul play and pushed back against the idea that she would have harmed herself. Her family disputed the notion that she suffered from depression.
Abdus-Salaam was the first black woman on New York state’s highest court.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Abdus-Salaam to the state’s Court of Appeals in 2013. He called her a “trailblazing jurist” whose legacy “will be felt for years to come.”
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Abdus-Salaam graduated from Barnard College and Columbia Law School.
She started her career as a staff attorney for East Brooklyn Legal Services. She served as a judge on the Manhattan state Supreme Court for 14 years.