Three Indian American women among judges appointed by New York Mayor de Blasio

Raja Rajeswari and Deepa Ambekar
Raja Rajeswari (left) and Deepa Ambekar

Deepa Ambekar and Raja Rajeswari reappointed to civil and criminal courts, respectively; Archana Rao is a first-time appointee.

Mayor Bill de Blasio chose three Indian American women amongst 46 judges he appointed and re-appointed throughout New York City. Deepa Ambekar, Raja Rajeswari and Archana Rao form the trio that marks the Indian American representation.

While Ambekar has been reappointed in the civil court and Rajeswari in the criminal court, Rao has been appointed to a civil court post for the first time.

Ambekar, who is a judge in the Kings County Criminal Court, also serves as the senior legislative counsel for the New York City Counsel. Born in Naperville, Illinois to immigrant parents, she spent her growing up years in Randolph, New Jersey. She graduated in economics from University of Michigan, Ann-Arbor.

Ambekar is married to Steven Chavez, a criminal defense attorney, based in New York.

Rajeswari, who holds the distinction of being the first South Asian woman judge in New York, is a criminal court judge in Staten Island. She has also served as the assistant district attorney at the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office.

Born in Chennai, India, she came to the United States as a teenager. She studied at the City University of New York’s College of Staten Island and also has a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. Besides her brilliant career, Rajeswari also pursues a passion for dance and is an accomplished Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi dancer.

Rao worked as the deputy bureau chief at the special prosecutions bureau in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. She was assigned to the trial division and also worked in the Domestic Violence Unit and Family Fraud Unit. She has also worked with the Special Prosecutions Bureau.

Rao studied at the Vassar College and Fordham University School of Law. She is amongst the 13 new hires by the mayor while the other 33 have been re-appointees.

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