Judge Jeremy Weinstein will not only be missed as a central figure in the Queens Supreme Court, but also as one of the funniest people in the circuit, according to many of speakers who bid a fond farewell at his retirement party on Aug. 1.
Currently the longest serving administrative judge in the city, having maintained the role since 2007, Weinstein was home-grown in Queens and served in the state Senate from 1979 to 1992 before his 25-year tenure on the bench.
“I promised to be the best that I could be, work hard in whatever position I had. To take advice and listen to those who came before me, but never forget that if people shared their life experiences with me, that I must do the same,” Weinstein said. “I think all of us who understand that work together as a family … That really is the gross of success.”
The courtroom on the seventh floor of the Queens Supreme Court building on Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica where the party was held was laced with familiar political faces.
Assemblyman David Weprin as well as Councilmen Barry Grodenchik and Eric Ulrich attended while many of the hundreds there were attorneys, judges and family members.
When asked by QNS what the highlight of his career as a judge has been been, Weinstein simply said laughingly “retirement.”
The Weinsteins have a long history in government and criminal justice with Moses Weinstein, the judge’s father, serving in the Assembly with stints as majority leader and speaker – fourth in line for the governorship – in the 1960s.
Moses Weinstein rose to prominence blazing a trail that would be followed by his son Jeremy Weinstein; he served first as a legislator then as a state Supreme Court Justice in Queens starting in 1969.
But Weinstein was not quite following in his father’s footsteps. At some points in the careers, they were counterparts to one another.
“He was the product of immigrant parents who was the first in his family to go to college,” Weinstein said. “After he came back from WWII he started a law practice … He was in the Assembly while I was in the Senate, and then I became an administrative judge just as he was back in the ’70s.”
His father, Moses, went into the appellate division.
“I don’t want it to be the kind of retirement where I’m working full time. I want it to be a mixture of spending time with five grandchildren, playing a little golf and doing some legal work,” Weinstein said.
Attorney Tara Weinstein Halpren, the judge’s daughter, commended her father’s ability to manage a work-life balance, especially as a legislator in Albany.
“As an attorney, I’m impressed by what he has accomplished. But what’s truly amazing, what I as a daughter and a mother and an attorney believe is the greatest accomplishment of them all, is that he devoted so much of his life to his career while also being present in my life,” Halpren said. “All those years in the Senate, my father always came home for my birthday which was always right in the middle of the senate session, even if it meant driving back to Albany late at night.”
All agreed Weinstein would be missed and made his mark on the judiciary.