Sheila Abdus-Salaam, was the first “African-American” woman to be appointed to New York State’s highest court, the Appeals Court in 2013 by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Today her body was pulled from the Hudson River only miles away from her West Harlem Brownstone.

Her husband confirmed her identity and tonight NYPD are saying they believe “no foul play was involved”, meaning they believe the judge committed suicide.

A graduate of Columbia Law School, Sheila Salaam worked in the New York Court System for over 20 years. She worked for 14 of those years as a judge presiding over cases in Manhattan Supreme Court. She then was appointed by  Cuomo and confirmed unanimously by her peers to her position as a judge on the Appeals Court.

People within the Cuomo administration as well as many who had worked with Salaam immediately sent out statements of their shock and sadness of learning of her death and the consummate professional she was.

Apparently, when attending Columbia Law, one of her classmates was former United States Attorney General, Eric Holder who also attended her swearing in ceremony.

If the claims of suicide by the judge are true, why? People with money and influence are usually less likely to commit suicide studies show, and to be honest, she seemed to have enough going for her that throwing herself into the Hudson seems a bit extreme.

The so called “conspiracy theorist” in me would speculate that someone with such a “high moral standing” such as an appeals court judge, would feel there may be no way out in a “blackmail” situation. That isn’t to say that is what happened here, but because of the “ethical/morality” grey area with judges and the like, compelling someone to do something highly unethical/illegal might push someone like this to breaking point.

It may or may not be what happened to this woman, however with her death now leaves a vacancy at the Appeals Court that most likely will not be filled by anyone that looks like her.

-Black Child