People In The News - March Is Women's History Month Hon. Mary Margaret Werner
Monday, March 18, 2019 at 5:36PM


Hon. Mary Margaret Werner’s life has been an amazing journey. ‘The mother of seven, she returned to college at the age of forty. After graduating from Dowling College and St. John’s University School of Law, Justice Werner began her legal career as an Assistant District Attomey in Suffolk County. There, she was one of the first women to serve in the District Court, Grand Jury, Rackets and Family Crime Bureaus. As Chief of the Family Crime Bureau, she was an ardent advocate for victims of famity violence.

In 1991. Justice Wemer was appointed to the New York State Supreme Court and was subsequently elected to that position. In 1994, she was appointed District Administrative Judge of Suffolk County, the first woman to hold that position. ln that role, Justice Wemer initiated trial case management reforms. She implemented the first Drug Treatment Courts in both the Suffolk County District Court and Family Court, with the mission of providing treatment and rehabilitation. With the support of the Suffolk County Women in the Courts Committee, Justice Wemer was the driving force behind the establishment of the Children’s Center at the Cohalan Court Complex, Iocated in the District Court. Today, the Center continues to offer a safe, secure and nurturing environment for children whose parents are attending to court business.

‘Justice Wemer is an active member of the Board of the Energeia Partnership, a stewardship program at Molloy College that fosters leadership roles in the business, government and education communities. She also serves on the Board of Advisors ol ERASE Racism, an organization dedicated to exposing racial discrimination and advocating for laws and policies that elin.rinate racial disparity.

A Founding Member and Past President of the Suffolk County Women’s Bar Association, Justice Wemer is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Suffolk County Bar Association, and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Suffolk County Bar and the Suffolk Academy of Law. Justice Werner is also a former member of the New York State Family Violence Task Force and has served as a member ofthe Boards of the Cleary School for the Deaf and St. John’s University School of Law Alumni Association. She is an active participant in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Stony Brook University.

Justice Werner is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Child Abuse and Family Violence Professional Award, the Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County Award for Distinguished Service to Victims and their Advocates, the Zonta Community Woman ofthe Year, a Certificate of Merit from NYS Govemor Mario M. Cuomo, the American Red Cross Community Service Award, the Education & Assistance Corporation Humanitarian Award, the Suffolk Region of Hadassah Myrtle Wreath Award and the Suffolk Academy of Law Distinguished Merit Award. She has also been honored by the United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration and the Long Island Women’s Coalition, Inc. for her professionalism and humanitarian achievements.

Having retired from the bench in 2006, Justice Wemer’s professional contributions to the legal system have had a tremendous impact on the lives of attorneys, employees, litigants and children in Suffolk County. Her personal legacy stands as an inspiration for future generations of women. 

Justice Werner will be honored by the Suffolk County Women’s Bar Association on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at the Stonebridge Country Club, Smithtown.

Article originally appeared on Smithtown Matters - Online Local News about Smithtown, Kings Park, St James, Nesconset, Commack, Hauppauge, Ft. Salonga (
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