Hon. Ellen Gesmer

Judge Gesmer's Average Overall Review:

1 Stars

Based on 30 reviews

  (646) 386-3285

  Unknown (fax)

  Unknown email address

Judicial offices

  • Acting Justice, Supreme Court, Bronx County, Appointed by Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, 2004 to 2013
  • Judge, Civil Court of the City of New York, New York County, Elected, Assigned to: Civil Court,Kings County, 2004; Civil Court, New York County, 2005; Criminal Court, New York County, 2006, 2004 to 2013


  • J.D., Yale Law School, 1976
  • BA, Harvard College, 1972

Bar admission

  • NYS, Appellate Division, First Department, 1979
  • Massachusetts, 1977
  • Michigan, 1983
  • D Mass, 1977
  • SDNY, EDNY, 2nd Circuit, 1979
  • Supreme Court, 1993

Professional experience

  • Gulielmetti & Gesmer, P.C., Partner, 1987 to 2003
  • Teitelbaum & Hiller, P.C., Associate, 1984 to 1987
  • Univ of Michigan Law School, Clinical Assistant Prof, 1983 to 1984
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Legal Services, Staff atty; supervising atty; Director of Litigation, 1977 to 1983
  • Hon. Joseph L. Tauro, Law Clerk, 1976 to 1977

Professional and civic activities

  • Board of Directors and Secretary, Dancing in the Streets, 2004 to present
  • Member, African Affairs Committee, ABCNY, 2004 to present
  • Member, Comm on Matrimonial and Family Law, Women's Bar Assn, 1997 to present
  • Member, Legal Advisory Committee, Sanctuary for Families, 2002 to 2003
  • Public Member, Rent Guidelines Board, 1990 to 1992
  • Co-Chair, New Members Committee, National Association of Women Judges, 2006 to present


  • Applying Racial Identity Theory to the Legal System: The Case of Family Law, in Racial Identity Theory, Thompson & Carter, eds. , 1997
  • Discrimination in Public Housing under the Housing Community Development Act of 1974: A Critique of the New Haven Experience, 13 Urban Law Annual 49, 1977



1146. attorney (private practice)

Biased, dishonest, incompetent, lacking judicial equanimity, a disgrace to the bench. In 40 years of practice, she is the worst judge I have been before.


3520. attorney (private practice)

Her are my thoughts about Judge Gesmer, based on my limited exposure (perhaps 4-5 matters, one trial) with her. Pros: she works hard and if you really have a case that needs judicial attention, she will give you a quick return date or hearing date. She knows the law - she is one of the most highly credentialed judges in the state, after all. Cons: Ill-tempered, jaded (more than one would normally expect from a matrimonial judge), has a dictatorial style in the court room, likes to scold counsel in open court (I had to experience how she treated a young lawyer, and I found it despicable), so prepare your client for that, she is prejudiced to one party early on and her rulings are often not based on the law but on her prejudices. At least that is my experience with her. An unpleasant person, overall. She is very bright and will make any opinion "Appellate Division - safe," by heavily relying on credibility of the parties in her opinions. My biggest complaint would be her utter lack of empathy for the people whose fate she holds in her hands. "She has the empathy of a lobotomized cat" was what someone told me about her. Perhaps unfair to the cats. General observations: She has a bias against foreign (non-American) litigants and is therefore tough in relocation cases. She is not necessarily "pro-woman," or at least not terribly. In fact, I think she dislikes young, beautiful and successful women (that's my very subjective opinion of course); she prefers older attorneys over younger ones. She makes up her mind early on in the case. so my advise would be, to take the first appearance very seriously, be well prepared. If she does not like your case, I would stick to my guns and make my record. She won't change her mind. Don't be thrown off when she gets angry and yells at you, be courteous but stick to your guns - "it's not you" an experienced litigator told me outside her part once - "She's like that to everyone." Once I found out that she yells at most people, I got used to it. One last comment: Have everything important on the record. She, well, "forgets" what she said in chambers. Please take this advice seriously.


1028. other

Most unprofessional Judge I have ever seen. No respect or Knowledge of the law. Makes up her own opinions, picks a side, has no interest in the truth. Complete incompetent. Comes from traffic court. No experience in family law. Has anger issues. Needs to go .


1035. attorney (non-profit practice)

My client is still waiting for his/ her day in court, but this judge has not allowed us to get a word in and when she speaks to us she is disrespectful and condescending. My client asked me if his is normal and I have to say no its not. As a attorney I expect a judge to have opinions but those thoughts/ opinions should not be brought to the bench, all cases should be looked at and judged fairly and the law should be followed. I hope that one day this starts to happen with this judge.


811. witness

I watched this judge for a few days dealing with numerous cases and she deals with them all in the same way, she picks a side and then pushes for the side that she thinks is right giving no power to the other side. She is very bright but does not use the law she goes by her opinions not he law.


1252. attorney (private practice)

I was also a target (not a victim) of Judge Gessmer's untreated anger issues. She had the audacity to speak to me in a rude and condescending manner in front of my client and court room. All of the above comments are on point. She is a disgrace to the bench. I would request the above file complaints to get her bosses attention that she needs to shape up or ship her out immediately.


887. party to case (with attorney)

I have a case with the judge and the two comments above hit the mark. She is one sided and does not allow the both parties time to work out a resolution if it does not fit into her daily schedule whether you are ready to proceed or not. I always thought that judges are to listen to the facts and make there decisions based on the law not there personal opinions. Who do judges account to?


3467. other

This Judge has a permenent psycological disorder, beyond sadistic and determined to personaly hurt and harm and deprive litigants of their right to due process and equal justice under the law. A born sociopath without remorse and beyond redemtion. Remove Judge Gesmer off the Bentch Now! Unfit for human consumption.


846. witness

When does the laws of the state of New York come into play with her? I thought that it was a judges job to follow the law, not allow her personal opinion to affect the out come of a case. Some one needs to point that out to her. It's hard to believe in our justice system when the laws are not followed.


1175. party to case (pro se)

Judge Gesmer verbally abused a pro se litigant, a French foreign national who was not given an interpreter to "Get A Job" , though this was in direct violation of his Visa that was expired. Amazing that a New York Supreme Court Justice would compel a litigant to Break The Law. This litigant just wanted to take his family back to France, a family whose visas to the United States had expired. But because the wife hired a connected law firm, and Judge Gesmer made it so, The American Tax payers are on the hook for these people.


2064. attorney (private practice)

I just appeared in front of Judge Gesmer and she was verbally abusive and lacked any ability to see past her own personal basis. My client was doomed before the negotiations even started. From word one Gesmer pushed her agenda and tried to force my client to settle even though he was in the right. It has been brought to my attention that Judge Gesmer is going though he own divorce, I hope her Judge gives her a fair shake, then maybe she ill do the same for her cases.


2655. party to case (with attorney)

This is a funny and different review about this nutjob of a judge. I was in the hallway signing a stipulation to settle my divorce case. When we were finished and ready to see the judge she was sitting at the bench. I was the first case to be called. When sitting there quietly Gesmer starts yelling at me that I was disrespectful to her because she said that when she entered the courtroom I did not stand up. Clearly this woman needs a new pair of glasses as I was not in the courtroom and not disrespectful in any fashion. She then proceeded to threaten to award my wife all sorts of judgements and different awards because she probably confused me with someone else in the courtroom. This person is out of her mind and must be removed from the bench. I strongly urge everyone who wrote a review on this site to file a report with the Chief Administrative Judge who oversees her. The reviews above accurately describe her conduct. Keep on posting comments folks! Make complaints to the proper authorities! This is the only way to get enough negative reports against her to get her bosses to understand how horrible and evil this person truly is.


1263. attorney (private practice)

I wanted to vent about Judge Gesmer but the commentators above have said it better then I could have. Now I have to figure out away for her to see all the comments and maybe one day she will open her eyes and allow the facts of a case to be presented before she passes judgement or lack of it.


1451. party to case (with attorney)

My divorce is over and all the comments above are 100 percent correct. My case went on for months with little or no contact with the judge but when she did finally speak with me it was not even for a moment and she never even considered the children and what was best for them. The reason I'm writing at all is because she needs to realize that without actually speaking with the parties how can a decision be determined. I'm sure she is a bright woman but the way she runs her courtroom needs to be looked.


2629. party to case (with attorney)

I cannot begin to understand how kind the reviews written above about such a piece of work this Judge is. Truly this person is very, very dangerous for she has the fate peoples lives in her hands and abuses her power. Words cannot describe how much pain and suffering she has caused me and my small children. This person must be taken off the bench. When will her supervisors realize this? Who are the people keeping an eye on this demeaning, disgusting judge? She certainly does not deserve this position. Her demeanor is horrible at best. Please hear all the cries about this person Chief Judge. Not one positive statement about her. All of these folks cannot be wrong. Can someone stop this person before she ruins more Families lives please!


4062. other

If there were anything less than one star I would have given it. This woman is incompetent and irrational. She should in no way be allowed to preside over the outcome of other people's lives. She is a disgrace to the position she holds and should be dismissed forthwith from having anything to do with the bench.


1212. witness

All of the above statements are spelling out a pattern, I feel the same as the others above, not sure who reviews these type of sites but I hope her bosses start to look and see what the people that go in front of her are feeling. Her on sided type of law needs to end, when do you get a fair and impartial decision from her???


1919. party to case (with attorney)

I'm a father and this judge assigned my case to a referee but she made it clear to referee how the case should be decided before we even started the trial. Nothing more to be said, you can figure out the rest from the others comments above.


4053. other

is there any recourse for this judge? Who can remove her. I've been reading up on her cases after her (in my opinion) unfair ruling on the Rutherford case. Looking at her low ratings on this site, it is obvious that she has no business being on the bench.


4253. attorney (private practice)

I have appeared before her a number of times and have discussed her rulings with other attorneys I respect (which I must say is not too many.) She is everything negative that is said above about her- quick to judge, quick to anger, slow to understand. Appears to enjoy with sadistic pleasure berating attorneys in open court. Zero stars.


4908. party to case (pro se)

What a nightmare...How dare she. This is America. She should be ashamed of her behavior. She is not only biased but simply makes up her own rules. Smart yes, but who cares about intellect without compassion, fairness and justice. Once she has made up her mind you are dead for the duration of any litigation, regardless of the merits of your arguments. Thank God she was just appointed to the Appellate Court. At least she will not be able to rule unfairly on my divorce case going forward. Cuomo must be nuts for appointing her. He just lost my vote. We would have all been better off if this judge sold hot dogs outside 60 Center Street where she can't do any more harm. Good riddance and good luck your Honor.


2085. witness

In my opinion- All of the comments are correct, including #14. On #14, she decided for your "side". Luck of the draw. However, don't count your chickens, she may flip to the other side. And to all of those commenting on her bosses or who she is accountable to, forget it. She is untouchable, unless you have money to influence her or her cohorts . She is just likley of the many corrupt judges in New York County. And, I am not sure about the divorce comment- are you it is more than a "marriage of convenience". Mr. Gesmer (Alan Hyde, Professor of Law @ Rutgers) "He" enjoys reading, swimming, yoga, and attending opera and dance performances, and plays the oboe in a community orchestra and chamber groups. Draw your own conclusions.... not that there is anything wrong with that.


2255. party to case (with attorney)

My case just started and I'm not sure what the judge was thinking all I did was hear her yelling at my lawyers while I was sitting in the court room waiting on her, I hope that the above comments are not correct, but from what I see so far they are correct. I hope she can keep a open mind.


2771. party to case (with attorney)

So how do we get our voice heard with her, I have never spoken to this judge, we have presented only papers and she has decided the outcome before we even started to put on our case. I'm scared that her bias will hurt my children. What cn we really do to get her to changer her one sided ways?


3142. other

Just saw an article about this judge telling a certain celebrity not to post pictures of themselves wearing their child's clothes... To say such a thing with a straight face is extremely unacceptable. I actually saw a picture of the judge and my advice to her is to stop with the "no fuss" haircuts...


6298. party to case (with attorney)

I had a case with Judge Gesmer last summer. I was TERRIFIED and had many sleepless night bc I did my research on her before court and found this website with endless bad reviews and experiences with her. Here was my experience in a nutshell: 1. She is tough. Come prepared or be ready to deal with the consequences. 2. She was fair. She followed the law in my case. 3. She not warm and fuzzy she WILL yell and she WILL put you in 'your place'.


3449. attorney (private practice)

Justice Gesmer, a well respected jurist, makes difficult decisions that clearly will not please both sides, ever. I think the readers of this site need to take into consideration that the negative reviews are authored by disgruntled litigants, or lawyers who perhaps have not prevailed. One would hope that litigants and lawyers might be more measured in their ratings, rather than focusing on their anger or disappointment.


4614. other

This judge's' ruling in the Rutherford case is cruel to say the lease. I hope that one day her grandchildren are being treated the same way she these children. Shame on her


1687. attorney (private practice)

I recently appeared before this judge. From reading the reviews here (which I did on my phone right before my appearance), I expected a fire spitting, gavel swinging monster on the bench. However, my experience with Justice Gesmer was totally different than described by others here. I had filed a lengthy OSC in a matrimonial matter, that urgently needed judicial attention, involving a young child. Justice Gesmer ordered a very early return date. She then addressed the parties in chambers at length. She had not only read my papers, but appeared to be intricately familiar with them, and she understood the importance of the matter. While she was very polite, she was also very clear in her words and she admonished the offending party to be mindful to the other party's rights. It was exactly what the offending party needed to be told, and told by a judge. I can see that this judge may have a short temper, especially when she thinks parties are acting unreasonable, but in the matter handled by me, involving the well-being of a child, I could not have asked for a better judge.


4597. attorney (private practice)

She is totally biased. If she likes you, you will win no matter how bad your case. If she dislikes you, you will lose no matter how strong merits in your case. She is totally corrupted. We should send our complaints to the media, let the media investigate this person. She should not be a Judge.

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