The Honorable Helena Heath
Albany City Court Judge (Albany, New York)
On April 22, 2005, Judge Helena Heath was appointed Albany City Court Judge to fill a vacancy on that Court and became the first female of African descent to serve in this position in the City of Albany’s 319 year history. She was then elected on November 8, 2005 to a full term of office and re-elected in November 2011. She presides over thousands of trials and proceedings annually involving criminal, civil, and traffic cases.
During High School, Judge Heath participated in a legal internship program working with an attorney on landlord-tenant cases. It was this experience that solidified her desire to become an attorney to help others and to promote social justice and racial equality. While attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Judge Heath-Roland served as a volunteer auxiliary police officer in Queens, NY, and worked with children at a shelter for battered women and their children in Harlem, NY.
Judge Heath graduated from New York University School of Law in 1987 where she was awarded the prestigious Root-Tilden-Snow Scholarship based upon her academic excellence and her commitment to public service law. During law school, she pursued her interest in becoming a public service attorney by working for the Legal Aid Society and volunteering to assist at risk youth obtain summer employment.
In 1994, she organized a local effort in the City of Albany that resulted in establishing a Children’s Center at Albany County Family Court. Since the Children Center’s creation in 1995, Judge Heath has served as Chair of the Center’s Advisory Committee to ensure that children are cared for in a safe and nurturing environment while their families take care of court business. She also serves as a director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany for over five years and is a trustee of the LaSalle School in Albany since 2012. For approximately three years, Judge Heath was a mentor to young students participating in the Albany NAACP’s Rosa Parks Literacy Education Academy reading and writing program.
Judge Heath is currently the Co-Chair of the Diversity and Gender Fairness Committee of the Capital District Women’s Bar Association and Co-Chair of the Youth and Law Committee of the Capital District Black and Hispanic Bar Association. She has coordinated programs for more than sixteen years with Albany Law School to expose female and minority law students to a variety of career paths, share keys to becoming a successful lawyer, and explore how female and minority attorneys can overcome gender and racial barriers in the legal profession. Judge Heath is the recipient of numerous awards from local not-for-profit organizations in recognition of her service to youth and her work promoting the advancement of women and minorities in society and within the legal profession.