January 9, 2023

Kings County Surrogate Harriet Thompson has resigned, citing medical reasons, which puts an end to years' long tumult in the court that began at the start of her term in January 2019. The Surrogate was suspended in December 2021 by the NYS Office of Court Administration ("OCA") for alleged bias and discrimination.

The investigation began in the Inspector General's office and resulted in a confidential report, which was delivered to then-Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks on December 3, 2021. Marks suspended Thompson and referred the matter to the NYS Commission on Judicial Conduct ("CJC"), which began proceedings against Thomson in May 2022. Thompson then petitioned for her reinstatement on the basis that OCA lacked authority to suspend her, but a Brooklyn judge denied her request last month. A formal hearing was scheduled before the CJC for January 17.

The resignation goes into effect March 1. Thompson has reportedly agreed to drop all litigation against the CJC and refrain from seeking future public office.

Last month, Supreme Court Judge Bernard Graham was appointed Acting Surrogate to handle Thompson's half of the court's docket. He follows Judge Carol Edmead, who served as Acting Surrogate during 2022. Surrogate Thompson only served two years of a 14-year term before she was suspended. 

Daniel R. Antonelli
Representing trust & estate clients with an emphasis on estate litigation in the New York City Metro Area.
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