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Keep Judge Chris Ann Kelley in District Court
$60 raised
2% of $2.5k goal
2 contributors
5 Years running

Meet Judge Kelley

Suffolk County Roots

Judge Chris Ann Kelley grew up in Riverhead—a fourth generation east ender—attending St. John the Evangelist grammar school and Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School. She graduated cum laude from SUNY Stony Brook in 1981 with a B.A. in English and received her law degree at Western New England University School of Law. She also attended an Institute on International and Comparative Law in Dublin, Ireland, studying International Human Rights. Upon graduating from law school, Judge Kelley returned to Suffolk County. She has resided in the Town of Brookhaven for 25 years.

Suffolk County DA’s Office

In 1985, Chris began a career in public service as an Assistant District Attorney in the Suffolk County District Attorney's office. Working in the District Court Bureau, she prosecuted misdemeanor criminal and vehicle and traffic law cases. Additionally, she worked in the Grand Jury Bureau, presenting felony cases to the Grand Jury for indictment. In the Family Crime Bureau, Chris prosecuted felony crimes between family members and intimate partners and many cases of child sexual abuse. 

Also, while in the East End Bureau, she assisted the Bureau Chief in prosecuting criminal and vehicle and traffic law cases on the East End of Long Island in the Town and Village Justice Courts.

Private Practice

In 1988, Judge Kelley entered private practice as a partner in the firm Civiletti & Kelley, which was a general practice handling criminal law, family law, real estate, zoning and land use, municipal law, commercial law, business law and trusts and estates matters.

In 1990, she began her own practice, focusing primarily on handling criminal defense, family law and matrimonial cases.

Attorney & Advocate For Vulnerable Adults & Children

While in private practice, Chris agreed to serve as an Assigned Counsel Defender for poor adults in the Family Court and Criminal Court system. Additionally, she held a treasured position for 14 years as an attorney for children, advocating for this most vulnerable population, who frequently do not have their voices heard. Those cases included child abuse and neglect proceedings, child custody cases and juvenile delinquency proceedings as well as termination of parental rights matters. Judge Kelley was recognized for outstanding service in this position.

A Return to Public Service

In 2002, Judge Kelley accepted an assignment as a Court Attorney-Referee in New York State Supreme Court. She worked in the newly formed Integrated Domestic Violence Part, which heard matrimonial, family and criminal cases involving one family where the underlying allegations all involved domestic violence. Chris acted in a quasi-judicial role, hearing and determining contested matrimonial issues, conducted case conferences, assisted the Presiding Justice in drafting pretrial motion and trial decisions, researched complex civil and criminal legal issues and monitored discovery schedules.

Between 2004-2007, Judge Kelley continued her work as a Court Attorney-Referee in Suffolk County Family Court, where she decided child custody cases, paternity and family offense cases. During her tenure as a Court Attorney-Referee, she had decisions published in the New York Law Journal.

Improving the Judicial System Through Education

During her career, Judge Kelley has lectured to members of law enforcement at the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department on the role and function of the Grand Jury. She also lectured to judges on the proper techniques to use while interviewing child victims of sexual abuse. 

In 2003, she lectured at the Suffolk County Academy of Law on the Integrated Domestic Violence Part and lectured domestic violence advocates on matrimonial law.

In 2012, Judge Kelley returned to the Suffolk County Academy of Law, lecturing on the Criminal Court Specialized Domestic Violence Part.

Judge Kelley donates her time and experience to High School students by serving as a Moot Court Judge and to Touro Law School students by participating in the Collaborative Courts Program and Court Observation Program.

Professional Associations

Judge Kelley is a current member of the Suffolk County Bar Association, Suffolk County Criminal Bar Association, Alexander Hamilton American Inn of Court and the Suffolk County Women's Bar Association. She was recently nominated to serve as a Director for that organization. She is a past member of the New York State Bar Association and Suffolk County Matrimonial Bar Association. She is also a member of Families with Children from China. 

Special Service

Chris has served as Special Assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County. She also acted as a liaison between the Suffolk County Town and Village Justice Courts and the District Administrative Judges Office. 

Since 2002, Judge Kelley has been a member of the District Administrative Judges' Women in the Courts Committee, serving as Co-Chair for the past two years. Under her leadership, the Committee has continued its advocacy on behalf of women and other vulnerable populations by working to enhance access to Justice initiatives, sponsoring Heart Health and Breast Cancer Awareness events; Educating the Legal Community on Domestic Violence issues; Supporting the Children’s Center at Court; Recognizing Women in the Law at an annual Women’s History Month event and by forming a new subcommittee on Human Trafficking to educate and effect change in this area.

Additionally, she has served as a member of the Office of Court Administrations Anti-Discrimination Panel since 2003.

Service on the Bench

Chris was elected as a District Court Judge in 2007. She was assigned to a criminal part where she handled a calendar of misdemeanor, vehicle, traffic and environmental crime cases. In January 2012, she was appointed as an Acting County Court Judge, assigned to a specialized Domestic Violence part, hearing both felony and misdemeanor crimes of violence between family members and intimate partners. A number of her decisions are published in the New York Law Journal. 

She has earned the respect of law enforcement, prosecutors, members of the defense bar and the public. She received the highest qualification ratings to serve on the bench from the Independent Judicial Election Commission ("Highly Qualified") and the Suffolk County Bar Association ("Qualified"), a distinction she had when she first ran for judicial office in 2007.


Judge Kelley is endorsed by the Suffolk County Probation Officers Association, Suffolk County Court Officers Association, Suffolk County Court Employees Association, CSEA and a coalition of Police unions consisting of the Suffolk County PBA, Suffolk Country Detective Investigators PBA, Suffolk County Detectives Association, the Suffolk County Police Conference and the Suffolk County Superior Officers Association. Writing for the police unions, Suffolk Detectives Association President William J. Plant stated: “After carefully reviewing your credentials, the Coalition members unanimously decided that you were the best candidate to hold this office.”

Family Life

She lives in Port Jefferson with her two daughters, Calla, 15 and Marina, 9 and their mixed breed terrier, Lily, whom they rescued two years ago.

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