Hon. Judy Harris Kluger, Executive Director, Sanctuary for Families
Hon. Judy Harris Kluger assumed the role of Executive Director at Sanctuary for Families on January 1, 2014. Prior to that, she served as Chief of Policy and Planning for New York State’s Unified Court System. She was appointed as Chief in March 2009, and was responsible for working with judges throughout the state to study and develop policies and strategies to improve the delivery of justice in New York. In addition to her role in system-wide court reform and policy development and implementation, Judge Kluger oversaw the problem-solving court programs around the state. Problem-Solving Courts in New York State include more than 300 Integrated Domestic Violence Courts, Drug Courts, Domestic Violence Courts, Mental Health Courts, Sex Offense Courts and Community Courts.
From 2003 to 2009, Judge Kluger served as Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Court Operations and Planning (DCAJ). As DCAJ, Judge Kluger initially oversaw statewide implementation of Integrated Domestic Violence Courts (IDV). The Integrated Domestic Violence Court program is a sweeping reform of the state courts that builds on a one family-one judge model for domestic violence cases. It involves the re-organization of a system that requires families affected by domestic violence to see multiple judges to resolve criminal, family and matrimonial matters.
In 2004, Judge Kluger took over administration of New York State’s Drug Treatment Courts, which present an alternative to incarceration for non-violent drug-addicted defendants and seek to break the cycle of addiction and recidivism that perpetuate drug use and drug-related crime, as well as Domestic Violence, Community, Mental Health and Sex Offense Courts.
Prior to her appointment as Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, Judge Kluger was the Administrative Judge of the New York City Criminal Court from 1996 to 2003. In that capacity, she oversaw all aspects of court operations at seven locations in the five boroughs of New York City. Judge Kluger developed specialized approaches for domestic violence and drug cases and brought a problem-solving and innovative approach to court operations and administration.
After graduating from New York University and St. John’s University Law School, Judge Kluger began her career as an assistant district attorney in Kings County, where she served as the Bureau Chief of the Sex Crimes and Domestic Violence Bureau and later as Chief of the Criminal Court Bureau. In 1988, she was appointed to the New York City Criminal Court. She was a key member of the development team at the Midtown Community Court where she presided from 1993 through 1996. The project received national acclaim for its innovative handling of quality of life crimes and began an era of development of problem-solving courts throughout the country.
Judge Kluger is an active member of numerous professional associations, committees and advisory boards and is a frequent speaker and panelist. In 1999, Judge Kluger received an award from the Mayor of the City of New York for outstanding leadership in breaking the cycle of domestic violence. In March of 2004, she was honored by the Lawyers Committee Against Domestic Violence with the In the Trenches Award. In 2013, she received the Award for Excellence in Public Service from the New York State Bar Association and is a prior recipient of Sanctuary’s Abely Award for Leading Women and Children to Safety.