US' first Muslim female judge found dead in Hudson river in New York

Namrata Tripathi
US' first Muslim female judge found dead in Hudson river in New York

United States first female Muslim judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam was found dead  in New York's Husdson River on Wednesday, police said.

Abdus-Salaam, a 65-year-old old black jurist, was an associate judge of New York's highest court. Officers with the New York Police Department's Harbour Unit on Wednesday afternoon responded to a report of a person floating by the shore near West 132nd Street in Upper Manhattan.

A police spokesperson said that she was found floating off Manhattan's west side at about 1:45 pm EDT (1545 GMT). He said that police pulled out the jurist's fully-clothed body from the water and she was declared dead at the scene by paramedics. Abdus-Salaam's body was identified by her husband, an autopsy would reveal the cause of her death. Police said that there was no signs of trauma on her body. 

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Abdus-Salaam was also the first African-American woman who was appointed to the Court of Appeals when Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo named her to New York's high court in 2013.

Cuomo released a statement on Wednesday stating that Judge Abdus-Salaam was a pioneer with an "unshakable moral compass".

"Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam was a trailblazing jurist whose life in public service was in pursuit of a more fair and more just New York for all," Cuomo in a statement said.

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The New York Post, while citing unidentified sources, said that the jurist was reported missing from her New York home earlier on Wednesday. Her family could not be reached for a comment.

Abdus-Salaam, who was a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia Law School, began her career in law with East Brooklyn Legal Services and served as a New York state assistant attorney general, the Court of Appeals website states. 

Judge Abdus-Salaam had been one of seven judges on the State Court of Appeals since 2013. She had also served as a lawyer of New York's Law Department. 

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