NEW YORK – Kimon Thermos, the well-known lawyer from Astoria, was sworn in on July 10 as Judge of the Housing Part of the Civil Court of the City of New York before judges of Queens County, after which he donned his judicial robes.
The touching swearing-in ceremony was held in the large hall on the first floor of the Civil Court building which was packed with Greek-Americans, Thermos’ friends, colleagues, and clients.
It was a unique experience for the editorial staff of The National Herald that covered the event because they entered a courthouse without anxiety, without concern over the outcome of the cases they cover involving Greek-Americans.
The courthouse’s security guards just looked at their press passes and waved them through with smiles despite the fact that people are forbidden to bring cameras and audio recorders into the court.
At the entrance to the hall was John-Luke, the 11 year-old-son of Kimon and Helen Thermos, who was responsible for greeting the invitees and distributing the programs.
The ceremony was simple, and presented the opportunity to the assembled judges and lawyers, and to Thermos himself, to emphasize the independence of the judiciary, the ideal of equal justice under the law and citizen’s rights to fair and impartial trials.
Last year the Housing Part of the Court heard 274,000 cases – mainly landlord tenant disputes.
Attorney Donna Dougherty, who was event’s Emcee, praised Thermos, noting that he will serve in a space that will feel like a home to him because for more than 15 years he represented tenants and landlords there, while judges often sought his advice regarding sensitive cases.
Judge Pam Jackman-Brown said she met Thermos in 1998 and they became friends. She said Thermos taught her what it means to be Greek and to care deeply about the birthplace of Democracy.
Greek-American Judge Maria Ressos, who donned the judicial robes in 2001, jokingly pointed out that they were participating not in a simple ceremony, but in a “Big Fat Greek Induction” and praised Kimon Thermos.
She added that 90% of claimants or defendants enter the court without lawyers because they could not afford them, and they the judge of the Housing Part to make fair decisions.
Thermos told the gathering: “Today is a great day for me and I thank from the bottom of my heart all the committee members for electing me.” He added with humility that there are many other lawyers who also meet the criteria for becoming judges, and that his assumption of judicial duties is a great responsibility for him. He added that any citizen who enters his court can be certain that there will be justice for all.
He expressed his gratitude for his wife Helen, his son and for all the relatives and friends who were present.
During the reception which followed guest were reminded about Thermos’ earlier political campaigns which, though unsuccessful, helped pave the way for the future success of State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and, most recently, City Councilman Costas Constantinides.
Seen in photo (L-R) Christopher Spyridakis, Michael Spyridakis, Anestis Leristis, Athanasios Leristis, Christina Thermos-Leristis, Andrew Leristis, John-Luke Thermos, Kimon Thermos, Eleni Thermos, Daphni Antonakis, Maria Akap, Pantelis Antonakis, Dimitrios Antonakis.