Brooklyn law briefs- Jan. 7

January 7, 2013 Charles F. Otey ESQ. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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BBA’s forum on criminal law welcomes public on Jan. 15

In a true public service the Brooklyn Bar Association’s Foundation Law Committee, headed by Fern Finkel, will host all lay people and lawyers alike at its “Criminal Law Proceedings in New York City’ program getting underway 6 p.m., Jan. 15 at BBA headquarters on 123 Remsen St.

Past BBA President Diana Szochet got out a last-minute reminder this week advising that even though reservations aren’t required, it would be a good idea to phone ahead at (718) 624 0675 Or e-mail Executive Director Avery Okin at [email protected].

Not only will criminal law experts be there to give free advice on critical, every-day issues, there’s also the promise of light refreshments.

Brooklyn Bar Association Dinner Brought Colleagues Together

The very successful and recent Brooklyn Bar Annual Dinner is, as Executive Director Avery Okin would agree, an opportunity to honor those who bring credit to the profession. But it is much more that. For instance, it provides long-standing colleagues a chance to share experiences from a common past.

The entire assemblage, for instance, was quite appropriately moved and saddened by the sudden passing of Court of Appeals Associate Justice Theodore Jones, whose elevation to the state’s top bench raised the morale of the bench and bar then under siege from many quarters.

Hundreds who were there that night knew him personally. All took pride in his accomplishments. The suddenness of his death – in his judicial prime at 67 – left many stunned almost beyond belief.

But the Brooklyn bench lost another significant member in 2012 in the person of the always active, always smiling Kings Justice Herbert Kramer. Justice Kramer had served the Kings bench for well over 20 years.

I was reminded of his unique settlement style when I chatted with New York County Judge Bob Kalish who, as a City Corporation Counsel, handled the Civil Court “City Part” at 141 Livingston St. as far back as the 1980s.
Leading veteran trial lawyers such as Mark Longo, Ross D’Apice, Richie Neimark, Arthur Hill and Jim Ross who were regulars there will recall the almost-daily encounters between Judge Kramer and then-Defense Counsel Kalish.
Indeed, their spirited disagreements often resounded throughout the third floor.

To no great surprise, Judge Kalish candidly commented that their heralded disputes over settlement figures — Judge Kramer regularly charged the city of ‘low-balling’ plaintiffs forcing them to go to trial — actually resulted in a ‘special bond’ and “fond memories’ of his days working with the late jurist in the third floor anteroom adjacent to Trial and Assignment Part.

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Hon. Kramer & City’s Kalish ‘Ended the Day as Friends’

“We always ended the day as friends,” said Judge Kalish. “Our friendship continued long after I stopped handling the Kings Civil Court Calendar. I liked and respected Judge Kramer and he knew it,” he added.

As noted in our last Pro Bono, The Brooklyn Marriott Room ushering the BBA into its 140th year was packed! Our gregarious partner, Eagle executive Marc Hibsher, was impressed by the attendance and the wit of many of the speakers such as Appellate Term Presiding Judge Mike Pesce and Andy Fisher, a past BBA president.

In fact, one of the Kings bar’s outstanding humorists — and a thespian to boot — was actually in charge of that night’s event. I refer of course to Dinner Chair Andy Fallek a past editor of the Brooklyn Barrister who ranks as one of the top dramatic performers at CLE-accredited skits on behalf of the Kings County Chapter of the American Inn of Court.

Founded 13 years ago by Justice Marsha Rappaport, and now retired Justices Gerard Rosenberg,  Abraham Gerges and former Justice Ed Rappaport, who now serves as the Inn’s President Emeritus.

We also chatted that night with irrepressible Inn President Mark Dittenhoefer — who along with Hon. Barry Kamins, Chief Administrative Judge for Criminal Matters, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik and Justice Joseph Levine (ret.) and Dave Feldman were original members of the Pro Bono Humor Panel back in the day. There are more great ‘stories’ coming from the BBA’s big bash especially the background and achievements of the very respected honorees whose awards were the highlight of the evening. Stay tuned.


Attacks on Secretary Clinton Product of ‘Hate’ Television?

When the abrasive John Bolton publicly mocked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s potentially life threatening illness this past week he was exposing the hatred-driven soul of the negative nativists. Malcontents like Bolton — who once proposed tearing off the top half of the UN building — will utter any despicable allegation just to get them some exposure on Fox television. 

Enabling Bolton’s pathetic prolific propagation of political pornography — and nodding in agreement — was, of course, Sean Hannity. Before Fox news under Rupert Murdoch came along such trash would never been tolerated on publicly licensed television stations.

When a mentally failing Sen. Joe McCarthy treated witnesses summoned by his red-baiting committee, opposing Counsel John Welch famously put him down, stating, “at last, at long last senator, have you lost all sense of decency!?!?” 
McCarthy would have loved Bolton, Hannity & Co. None of the leading television commentators came to his defense after the Welch putdown. Sorry to say one has to wonder whether Fox would have used the historic quote from Barrister Welch.

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