Healey Makes Picks For Appeals, Housing Courts

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BOSTON (State House News Service) — Helping for years to manage the day-to-day operations of the Housing Court has given Benjamin Adeyinka a deep understanding of how the law and the court function. Now Gov. Maura Healey wants the deputy court administrator to put it all to use as the newest judge on the Housing Court bench.

Healey nominated Adeyinka for the judgeship Thursday, saying the Brooklyn-raised son of Nigerian immigrants "has proven a deep understanding and commitment to the work of the Housing Court, making him a strong candidate for this role." The governor's office said his life experiences and his knowledge of the law shape Adeyinka's approach to his work, and highlighted his respect and concern for self-represented litigants.

Healey also nominated Robert "Robin" Toone, an attorney with a varied resume who was hired to run the Government Bureau for then-Attorney General Healey in early 2015, for a position on the Appeals Court. Both nominations will go to the Governor's Council for consideration and confirmation.

"As experienced attorneys, Ben and Robin would make great additions to our court system, and I’m proud to nominate them for consideration," Healey said in a statement.

Adeyinka joined the Housing Court administrative office as the administrative attorney in 2014 and in 2018 was selected by Chief Justice Timothy Sullivan and Court Administrator Jon Williams to become deputy court administrator. Before that, he handled trials, appeals and settlements in foreclosures, bankruptcy cases and title challenge cases as an attorney at Orlans Moran in Boston, according to the 2018 announcement.

As deputy court administrator, Adeyinka provides support and guidance to more than 140 staff members, 15 judges and six clerk magistrates at the Housing Court. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he was on the committee that worked to find creative ways to for the court to continue to serve the public, the governor's office said.

Before practicing law, he worked in banking and real estate, and he is a director of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association. Adeyinka holds degrees from University of Buffalo, Medaille College and the Massachusetts School of Law.

Toone, the Appeals Court nominee, has been chief of the Government Bureau for the Attorney General's Office since Healey hired him into that role a month into her first term as attorney general in 2015. He had been a partner at Foley Hoag for the previous six years.

As head of the Government Bureau, Toone leads the roughly 60 assistant attorneys general who defend the state in civil cases and function as government oversight. He has argued on behalf of the commonwealth in state and federal court cases involving constitutional and preemption challenges to state laws, judicial independence, criminal justice, and certification of initiative petitions.

Before his stint at Foley Hoag, Toone worked as counsel to U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee for about five years. The governor's office said he provided Kennedy with legal and policy advice on crime, sentencing, prison conditions, terrorism, civil liberties, oversight of executive branch agencies, and LGBTQ+ issues. He was also previously a lead counsel at the Southern Center for Human Rights.

He holds degrees from Yale University and Yale Law School, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Adeyinka does not appear to have contributed to any political campaigns in Massachusetts. Toone has given $1,200 since 2006 to a handful of Democrats: Deval Patrick, Sam Yoon, Steve Grossman, Martha Coakley, Steve Kerrigan and Healey, according to data from the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. His most recent donation was $100 to Healey in August 2022.

Written by Colin A. Young/SHNS

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