Chief Administrative Judge

Hon. Joseph A. Zayas

The Hon. Joseph A. Zayas was appointed by Chief Judge Rowan Wilson in May 2023 as the Chief Administrative Judge of the New York State Unified Court System, the highest-ranking administrative position within the New York State Judiciary.  Judge Zayas oversees the day-to-day administration and operation of the statewide court system, including its $3.3 billion budget, 3,300 state and local judges and 15,000 non-judicial employees in over 300 locations across the state.

Judge Zayas was previously appointed by New York’s Governor as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department – an intermediate appellate court which has jurisdiction over portions of New York City and the suburbs surrounding New York City. He previously served as the Administrative Judge for Supreme Court in Queens County, the second most populous county in the State.

Judge Zayas was elected as a Justice of the Supreme Court in Queens County in 2016, appointed as a Judge of the Court of Claims by New York’s Governor in 2012, and originally appointed as a Judge of the Criminal Court of New York City by New York City’s Mayor in 2003.  As a trial judge and an administrative judge of a trial court, Judge Zayas presided over jury trials in criminal cases and served as the Presiding Judge in the county’s Youth Court, Drug Treatment Court, and Mental Health Treatment Court.  Throughout his judicial career, Judge Zayas has published numerous opinions in criminal, civil and family cases, lectured extensively on various areas of the law and was an active member and officer of the Latino Judges Association.

Prior to being appointed to the bench, Judge Zayas served as a law clerk to the Hon. Rolando T. Acosta in Civil and Supreme Court and at the Harlem Community Justice Center, a problem-solving court serving the communities of East and Central Harlem.  Prior to working with Justice Acosta, Judge Zayas served as an attorney with The Legal Aid Society’s Capital Defense Unit, Criminal Appeals Bureau and Criminal Trial Division.

Judge Zayas is a graduate of Columbia University School of Law, and Fordham University.  He attended public schools in New York City and was raised in the Frederick Douglas Housing Projects. 


Joseph A. Zayas