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Second Judge Dies After Brooklyn Supreme Court Deemed an Epicenter for the Novel Virus

The Brooklyn Supreme Court is now a hotbed for COVID-19, as it claims the lives of two judges and infects more
Justice Noach Dear
Photo: Courtesy of Jesse Ward, New York Daily News

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice and former City Council Member, Noach Dear, died on Sunday due to coronavirus complications, his son-in-law Aron Hirtz reported to the New York Post. 

Dear, who was 66, was elected to the Brooklyn Supreme Court in 2015 prior to which he represented Brooklyn's District 44, consisting of Midwood and parts of Borough Park and Bensonhurst, from 1983 until 2001.

"Judge Dear had a certain energetic, colorful persona," Frank Carone, president of the Brooklyn Bar Association, told the New York Daily News. "He will be sorely missed."

City Council Member Brad Lander of District 39 honored Dear for his work as a debt collector court judge who specialized in "swatting back attempts by loansharks" and curtailed police power by ruling against a controversial policy called the "sniff test," according to Patch.

Judge Dear's courthouse at 360 Adams is particularly affected by COVID-19. Judge Johnny Lee Baynes, 64, was the first judge to fall victim to the virus. A third judge, Wayne Siatta, has been diagnosed and Brooklyn Supreme Civil Court's administrative judge, Lawrence Knipel, is hospitalized with the virus.

"That's a courthouse that's so densely filled all the time," said attorney Dmirtriy Shakhnevich to the New York Daily News. "If I was a betting man, Brooklyn is by far the busiest courthouse in the city — and that includes criminal courts as well."

No other New York State judges have died of the virus.