The Hon. Richard B. Rutledge (Ret.) was a justice of the New York State Supreme Court. He was elected to the Supreme Court bench in January 1990. Rutledge retired in 1996.
He began his judicial career as a judge for the Civil Court of the City of New York in 1985. During his tenure on the Civil Court, Rutledge was appointed to serve as its supervising judge in 1990.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941. Rutledge, a World War II veteran, was first assigned to the 99th Pursuit Squadron at Tuskegee Army Field. In 1943, he was commissioned as a Warrant Officer Junior Grade and would eventually be transferred to an all-black engineer aviation squadron at March Field in California. While there, he served as the adjutant for the Headquarters Company. As such, Rutledge was under the command of Admiral “Bull” Halsey during the invasion of the Palau Islands on the southwest Pacific. Rutledge ultimately served twenty-months overseas and a total of five years in active duty with the Army Air Corps.
After returning from the war, he received a bachelor’s degree from New York University. Rutledge went on to earn a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 1950. Over the course of his legal career, he maintained a general law practice until his election to the bench in 1985.
After retiring from the bench, he moved to Florida, where he served as a Circuit Court Mediator and Federal Court Mediator.
Rutledge was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, but grew up in Brooklyn, New York.