Rolando T. Acosta

Judge, New York State Supreme Court

  • Columbia College, B.A., 1979
  • Columbia, J.D., 1982

The Hon. Rolando T. Acosta was elected as a New York State Supreme Court Justice in New York County in 2002 and appointed by the governor to the Appellate Division, First Department, in January 2008.  In May 2017, Justice Acosta was appointed by the governor to serve as the Court’s Presiding Justice.  A prolific writer, Justice Acosta has authored hundreds of decisions on complex and novel criminal and civil matters.  For example, in Williams v New York City Housing Authority, 61 AD3d 62 (2009), he analyzed for the first time New York City Human Rights Law claims separately and independently from analogous federal and state laws, eliminating federal and state requirements that harassing conduct be “severe or pervasive” to create liability under the city law.  Williams has been adopted by various appellate courts, including New York State’s highest court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Justice Acosta is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia University School of Law.  He is the recipient of Columbia University’s “Medal for Excellence,” and is a member of Columbia’s Athletics Hall of Fame.  He currently serves as a Trustee of Columbia University and as a member of The Dean’s Council of Columbia Law School. In 2013, he was awarded Columbia Law School’s Wien Prize for Social Responsibility.

Justice Acosta was raised in the South Bronx and Washington Heights, after having immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic at the age of 14.  Prior to his judicial service, he held various posts with the Legal Aid Society, including Attorney-in-Charge of the largest civil trial office.  Justice Acosta has also served in Mayor David Dinkins’ administration as Deputy Commissioner for Law Enforcement for the New York City Commission on Human Rights.  In this role, he was responsible for directing all of the Commission’s investigatory and prosecutorial functions, including the planning and execution of litigation strategy.