Body Found of First Woman Muslim Judge

NEW YORK—The body of Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman judge on the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, was found Wednesday floating in the Hudson River, and police speculate she may have taken her own life since her body showed no signs of trauma.  Police later changed their minds, saying they would investigate it as a suspicious death.

 Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam
Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam

The 65-year-old Abdus-Salaam was the first female Muslim judge in the country. Her body was found floating by the shore near West 132nd Street in Upper Manhattan, police said.

Police took her body to a pier on the Hudson River where she was pronounced dead. Abdus-Salaam’s  husband, Gregory Jacobs, identified her. The couple lived in Harlem.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo nominated Abdus-Salaam to the Court of Appeals on April 5, 2013. She was one of seven judges on the court.

The New York Daily News reported that Abdus Salaam struggled with depression, according to a police source. There are reports her father and brother committed suicide.


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