Hon. Betsy Barros was elevated to Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department by Governor Andrew Cuomo in April 2014.
In 1997, Justice Barros was elected to the Kings County Supreme Court bench. She has the distinction of being the first Latina woman to serve in both capacities in the Second Dept. A graduate of Cornell University, she received her Bachelor of Arts in 1979, and New York University School of Law where she received her J.D. in 1982. Justice Barros has dedicated her entire legal and judicial career to public service.
After representing indigent clients asa public defender for six years as a staff member of the Legal Aid Society, in Brooklyn, she prosecuted corruption in the criminal justice system as a Special State Prosecutor. She later prosecuted bias-related crimes and supervised staff attorneys in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office as Chief of their Civil Rights Bureau and as a Chief of a felony trial bureau.
After her election to the Civil Court bench in 1995, Justice Barros served in New York County Criminal Court where she presided over criminal cases until her election to Supreme Court. She served two terms as a Supreme Court Justice in Kings County.
For over twenty years, Justice Barros has presided over criminal, matrimonial and guardianship matters. Serving in the Criminal Term of the Supreme Court in Brooklyn for six years, Justice Barros primarily dedicated herself to diverting addicted youth and adult predicate offenders facing long prison sentences into alternative to incarceration programs. She placed and closely monitored hundreds of felony offenders into programs such as TASC (a pioneer drug treatment alternative to incarceration program which has served as a model in criminal courts nationwide), successfully transitioning rehabilitated offenders back into the community.
In her capacity as a guardianship judge, she handled cases involving at-risk incapacitated individuals, many of whom are indigent senior citizens, in need of court intervention and protection due to either physical abuse and/or financial exploitation. During her tenure as a guardianship judge, Justice Barros was appointed by the Honorable Randall T. Eng to chair the Guardianship Roundtable for the 1st and 2nd Judicial Departments.
In addition to the LJA, Justice Barros is a member of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, Puerto Rican Bar Association, NYS Women’s Bar Association and Brooklyn Bar Association.
The daughter of Chilean immigrants, Justice Barros was born and raised in Brooklyn, where she still resides with her husband.