Appointed the new City of Newburgh court judge, Anika Mohammed feels the energy that the city gives off and for her, makes her proud to be a part of it.
For Mohammed, being a part of a very diverse city and representing it through the legal system is what motivates and inspires her to assist however she can.
With the current pandemic, Mohammed continued to serve in her community despite the challenges. For the past 11 years, Mohammed has helped serve meals to the community through Shepherds Kitchen through the Church of the Good Shepherd located on Broadway.
In the City of Newburgh, Mohammed notes that the city is one of the few courts in the county that has a Wellness and Recovery Court which address mental health issues for defendants, drug court and opioid court. Mohammed worked closely with the Wellness and Recovery Court.
With these courts in the city, Mohammed says that utilizing the various programs in the community, helps those defendants who may struggle with these issues. Even during the pandemic, Mohammed notes that the courts continued to connect with any of those who needed their assistance through digital communication.
As Mohammed has progressed through her legal career, the most valuable lesson she carries with her, wherever she goes, is fairness to all.
“My entire professional career, as an attorney, has been in the criminal justice system, whether I was prosecutor, defense attorney, now a judge, what I’ve carried with me throughout all of that is, just be fair,” Mohammed said. “It sounds so simple but it’s one of the most important things that we can do within this system. Be fair to each and every individual, that you meet, that you see. That speaks not just to my profession, but to life.”
Prior to her entering the legal field, Mohammed received her bachelor’s degree from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York in 2010. Mohammed then went on to receive her law degree from Pace University in New York City, New York in 2014.
Mohammed later on served as the Assistant District Attorney in the Orange County area in 2015. In 2019, she left that office and in that same year she opened her own law practice doing predominantly criminal defense. In that time, being on her own was very different from being in the office setting, but the legal community in Orange County supported Mohammed in her venture.
On July 12, City of Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey appointed Mohammed as the new city judge. Previous to Mohammed, Judge Peter Kuklin held the position until his retirement.
For Mohammed, her main focus in this position is to assist and help Newburgh residents through her work and her dedication to the community.
“At the end of the day, it’s really not about myself, it’s about the community,” Mohammed said. “It’s more what’s the community’s message to me ‘cause it’s my job to listen.”