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Thomas A. Demakos, an Icon of the Queens Legal Community, Died at 98

NEW YORK, NY – Greek News USA

The Honorable Thomas A. Demakos, retired Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, passed away peacefully on 2/22/22 at the age of 98.

Thomas Anastasios Demakos was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1946, he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Long Island University and a master’s degree in business administration from New York University. He worked as a certified public accountant for a few years prior to going to law school and joining a law firm.

Judge Demakos earned his J.D. in 1957 from the New York Law School. He joined the Queens County District Attorney’s Office in 1962 where he served until 1979. He served as a criminal court judge from 1980 until 1982, as an acting supreme court justice from 1982 until 1985 and was elected a Justice of the Queens County Supreme Court  in 1986 where he served until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 76 in 1999. He then returned to serve the People of Queens County as a Judicial Hearing Officer until 2015.  

He considered as one of his most gratifying moments on the bench, his landmark ruling that defense lawyers at the Howard racial-murder Beach trial, in 1987, could not exclude blacks from a jury without good reason.

In legal circles Demakos earned a reputation as a no-nonsense jurist who was fair and very knowledgeable about the law and seldom reversed by higher courts.

He is survived by his wife Mary Demakos and their two sons.

Queens Judge Michael Aloise reacting at the sad news said that Judge Demakos was the benchmark for all Supreme Court Judges at the time, and remains a role model for all Judges sitting today and in the future.