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Rediff.com  » News » Sabita Singh to be sworn in as Massachusetts Judge

Sabita Singh to be sworn in as Massachusetts Judge

December 11, 2006 16:32 IST

Indian American attorney Sabita Singh was confirmed as a district court judge in Massachusetts and will soon be sworn in as Associate Justice of the Massachusetts District Court.

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney had nominated Singh for the post of District Court judge last October but had to wait till the Governor's Council approved her nomination. She is the first Asian American appointed to the state bench. Currently, Singh is special counsel for criminal rights enforcement in the Office of the US Attorney in Boston.

Bihar-born Singh is the former founding president of the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston and the current president of the North American South Asian Bar Association. She migrated to the US with her parents as a child and grew up in rural Pennsylvania and attended Pennsylvania State University from where she got her bachelor's degree, majoring in the administration of justice, and her law degree from the Boston University School of Law. Later, she clerked with the Massachusetts Superior Court.

Of the four nominees Romney appointed to the Massachusetts trial court, three, including Singh, are minority women.

Singh enjoyed a stint as assistant district attorney in the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, where she did both trials and appeals and was also the point person on juvenile, school and hate crimes issues. She was also legal director to Project Alliance, a youth crime prevention initiative.

She worked on some high-profile cases during her tenure there, including the Eddie O'Brien juvenile murder case that Court TV covered extensively in which she ultimately secured a conviction for first-degree murder.

Her

biggest case was the prosecution of British nurse Louise Woodward before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for the death of baby Matthew Eapen.

Woodward had been convicted for second-degree murder in the death of Matthew October 30, 1997, but presiding Judge Hiller Zobel overturned the jury's conviction November 10, reducing it to manslaughter and sentencing Woodward to 279 days in jail, a term she had already served since being taken into custody for Matthew's death.

In her arguments before the Supreme Judicial Court, Singh asserted that Woodward's original second-degree murder should be reinstated and that Zobel had overstepped his boundaries as a trial judge by reducing the jury's original conviction.

After her stint in the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, she went to work for Binghal McCutchen LLP, an 850-attorney international firm, where she specialised in the firm's white-collar crime and business regulation division.

Annapoorni R Sankaran of the law firm of Greeburg Traurig LLP, the current president of SABA of Greater Boston, spoke of the "major significance for the South Asian community."

Another Boston attorney, Ameek Ashok Ponda, who is with the firm of Sullivan and Worcester LLP, told rediff India Abroad, "I cannot say enough kind things about Sabita. She is impressively credentialed and accomplished, but more importantly, she has been very active in Indian-American community affairs, including as president of the national South Asian Bar Association. We are all very thrilled in Massachusetts that she will soon be a sitting judge. Hers is truly an inspiring story."

 

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC