Housing Court Judge José Rodriguez, who for 27 years decided what was legal and just for the thousands of landlords and tenants who came before him, died Saturday evening, court officials said.
He was one of the most senior Housing Court judges in New York City, working many years in the Bronx but eventually serving in every single borough. He had been assigned to Queens for the past two years.
“I can remember practicing in front of him somewhere around ’92 or ’93,” said John Lansden, who is supervising judge for the Housing Court in Queens. “He had a way of disagreeing with you that wasn’t confrontational, that wasn’t demeaning in any way.
“He was in my opinion both judicious and compassionate,” said Lansden, who was 12 years younger than Rodriquez. “Not only was he a true colleague that you could talk to anytime. But he was fixture. You’re never going to replace that kind of person.”
Supervising Judge for the New York City Housing Courts Jean Schneider called Rodriguez “the finest of men and a terrific judge.” She said he was loved by all.
Before being appointed to the Housing Court, Rodriguez was a staff attorney for East Brooklyn Legal Services and a senior attorney for District Council 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services.
He received his law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law.