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Mort de Amadou Diallo à New York City
Justice Who Was a Prosecutor Under Giuliani to Oversee Trial
New York Times
Justice Patricia Anne Williams, who was named Wednesday to preside over the Amadou Diallo case, is a Yale-trained lawyer who once worked under Rudolph W. Giuliani when he was United States Attorney.
She was appointed a Criminal Court judge by Mayor Edward I. Koch in 1986 and named an Acting Justice of State Supreme Court by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo in 1989. Justice Williams, 55, one of the most prominent African-American jurists in the city, was picked at random from a pool of a dozen judges for the racially charged Diallo case, in which four white police officers are charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Diallo, an African immigrant.
« She’s got what it takes for a tough job, » said Jack H. Nussbaum, the chairman of the Manhattan law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, who has known Justice Williams since she worked there as a young lawyer. « She’s smart and she’s also open-minded, and she’s going to have to put blinders on to block out everything she’s heard and everything she’s seen in order to handle this case. »
He added that being African-American would be an added pressure for her. « She worked at the firm when African-Americans and women were extremely scarce, » Nussbaum said. « She’s been on both sides of the fence; she knows what it’s like to be alone. »
Justice Williams has been reportedly considered for recommendation to the Federal bench, in 1991 by Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato and in 1993 by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, but never nominated.
Justice Willams was born Dec. 16, 1943, in New York City, the daughter of David Charles Williams Jr. and Kathleen Valerie Carrington Williams, according to her entry in the 1998 edition of Who’s Who Among Black Americans.
She graduated from Cornell in June 1965, concentrating in government, according to a résumé supplied by the Office of Court Administration. At Columbia University in 1967, she earned a master’s degree in International Relations. She received her law degree from Yale Law School in June 1972.
She joined Willkie Farr & Gallagher, where she drafted Federal appellate briefs and arguments. From 1977 to 1986, she was an assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, where she worked as a prosecutor on criminal cases, including narcotics, tax and securities cases. In her later years in the office, she worked under Giuliani.
She did not return a call to her home last night.
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