By: Lauren Tucker | Staff Writer
Unfortunately, on April 19, 2016, Queens County Supreme Court Justice Duane A. Hart suddenly passed away. His passing was a devastating loss for the legal community and the Queens Civil Court System. We truly lost an outstanding legal mind. But more significantly, for those who really knew Judge Hart, this is a time of intense mourning for the loss of such an exceptionally kind and compassionate man.
I had the privilege of interning with Judge Hart in the summer of 2015. As an Intern, I had the opportunity to witness him first-hand in the courtroom and interact with him on a daily basis. The knowledge and experience I gained from this internship will remain with me forever. I am so fortunate to have learned and observed such a great legal mind. One memory that I will always remember about Judge Hart is his enthusiastic and wholehearted commitment to each one of the interns who came through his courtroom doors. He personally sought for each intern to achieve his or her fullest potential. He wanted his interns to learn and succeed. Additionally, he also wanted us to be happy.
I had the privilege of interviewing him on January 14, 2016 and experiencing first-hand his unwavering commitment in the success of his interns. Upon concluding my interview with him, he began inquiring about my prospective summer jobs and if I had put anymore thought into what I wanted to do when I graduate. He would always take extra time out of his day to give me advice about the legal profession. His unwavering commitment to my success only served to encourage and motivate me to succeed and make him proud.
While some may describe him as having an “imposing demeanor” while in the courtroom, Judge Hart could not have been more compassionate and caring for the people who stepped foot into his courtroom. While he did bring his strong personality into the courtroom, he was always a constant professional, and knew the law like no other. Judge Hart had an incredible legal mind and aptitude. I would observe him in the courtroom in awe of his intellect and his astounding attention to detail. Judge Hart had a larger than life personality, and he was always genuine in everything that he did. He was a funny and gregarious man. He always wanted to make people smile. He will be remembered not only for his legal achievements, but also for the countless number of people that he has helped throughout his life. Personally, I will miss his animated sense of humor and his gentle heart.
Justice Duane Hart was not only an intelligent and exceptional jurist, but he was also an extraordinary person. His passing is a pronounced loss for the court system and also for the people who loved and admired him. The presence and knowledge that he brought to the courtroom can never be duplicated. In closing, I attribute this writing piece to the passing of a brilliant legal mind, Justice Hart, who did so much for myself and the legal community.