1st Black Woman On State’s Highest Court Found Dead By River

NEW YORK (AP) — There are no signs that a crime was committed in the death of the first black woman appointed to New York state’s highest court whose body was found on the bank of the Hudson River, police said Thursday.

Medical examiners are still planning to perform an autopsy on 65-year-old Sheila Abdus-Salaam.

The New York City police harbor unit retrieved her body from the Hudson on Wednesday, a day after she was reported missing.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who appointed Abdus-Salaam to the state’s Court of Appeals in 2013, called her a “trailblazing jurist.”

“As the first African-American woman to be appointed to the state’s Court of Appeals, she was a pioneer,” Cuomo said. “Through her writings, her wisdom and her unshakable moral compass, she was a force for good whose legacy will be felt for years to come.”

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said her colleague will be “missed deeply.”

Abdus-Salaam graduated from Barnard College and received her law degree from Columbia Law School.

She started her career as a staff attorney for East Brooklyn Legal Services. She served as a judge on the Manhattan state Supreme Court for 14 years.

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