One January evening, tension was in the air as a family of four watched a live-streamed city council meeting. Kristin Garland, the mother of this family had been nominated as Auburn's new part-time associate city judge. Now it was time for council to vote on her confirmation.
The first vote, a "no," from the five-person council was an unsettling blow. But before the mayor cast the last vote, Garland had secured three votes — a majority.
Garland's confirmation had lit a fuse, causing her kids to explode as they screamed and jumped up and down. After 226 years as a municipality, Auburn had named its first female city judge.
Celebrating would have to be put on hold though, as Garland was set to start her new job at 8 a.m. the next morning. Later that week, she would attend a week-long program at the New York State Judicial Institute at Pace University in preparation for the new gig.
At the Judicial Institute, Garland met fellow newly-appointed judges. The class was a diverse one, comprised of a wide age range. Nearly half of the class was made of women, too.
"It was really great to go down there and see people that had just been appointed and to see that they too were nervous and anxious," Garland said.
Garland is a courtroom veteran with 11 years of experience. But even for her, it took some time getting accustomed to leading a courtroom.