November 7, 2022
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced the appointment of Ayanna Sorett as the executive director of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary (MACJ). As executive director, Sorett will play a key role in vetting and nominating appointments and reappointments to New York City Criminal Court and New York City Family Court, as well as interim appointments to New York City Civil Court.
“Appointing qualified judges to our courts is key to reducing the backlog of cases that built up during the COVID-19 pandemic and damming one of the rivers that feeds the sea of crime,” said Mayor Adams. “Ayanna Sorett is a seasoned professional who has dedicated her career to making our criminal justice system fairer, more efficient, and more just. We look forward to working with her at MACJ to ensure that we are advancing public safety and justice — the prerequisites to prosperity.”
“As the committee responsible for recommending appointments to 60 family court seats, 107 criminal court seats, and a varying number of interim civil court seats, MACJ plays a critical role in the city’s justice system,” said City Hall Chief Counsel Brendan McGuire. “As a former assistant district attorney for 15 years, Ayanna Sorett’s years of trial experience will be an incredible asset to the role of executive director of MACJ.”
“As a former litigator, investigator, and academic, I bring a deep understanding of how judicial appointments shape our justice system,” said Ayanna Sorett, incoming executive director, MACJ. “I am honored to lead the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary as executive director, and look forward to working in partnership with the administration and judiciary to advance Mayor Adams’ goals for a safer, more just, and more equitable city.”
Consistent with prior administrations, Mayor Adams established the current MACJ by Executive Order 14 in April 2022 to evaluate, consider, and nominate judicial candidates highly-qualified for appointment and to evaluate the incumbent judges for reappointment to the following courts: New York City Criminal Court, New York City Family Court, and, for interim appointments, New York City Civil Court.
About Ayanna Sorett
Ayanna Sorett will serve as the executive director of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary. Most recently, she was a senior fellow in the Center for Justice at Columbia University, where she advised center leadership and staff on various policy and programming initiatives around criminal justice reform, including restorative justice practices. Sorett is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University, where she teaches an undergraduate and graduate-level course on criminal justice-related topics.
Prior to joining the faculty at Columbia, Sorett served as an assistant district attorney with the New York County District Attorney’s Office. In her more than 15 years as a prosecutor, Sorett worked on a wide variety of criminal cases, handling every aspect of prosecution from pre-arrest investigations to sentencing and post-conviction litigation. While at the DA’s office, she developed specialized expertise working on everything from complex financial crimes, including securities fraud and money laundering, to convening various stakeholders and facilitating community-based meetings to advance policy, programs, and initiatives that addressed crime-related issues and supported local communities. Sorett also worked on violent felony offenses and large-scale conspiracy cases, including gun trafficking and homicides.
In addition to investigating and litigating cases, Sorett assisted in a variety of administrative roles in the DA’s office, including supervising junior assistants in case intake, leading teams of attorneys in focused prosecutions, leading the office’s college intern program, and serving as a member of the office’s permanent hiring committee.