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KCCBA annual awards dinner honors Brooklyn legal professionals

April 30, 2014 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The members of the Kings County Criminal Bar Association (KCCBA) dressed to impress and honored their best during its annual dinner held at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach on Saturday night.

Joseph P. Alexis, Virginia Raisch, Lisa Schreibersdorf and Hon. Martin P. Murphy were presented with awards at the banquet for their contributions to the association, their offices and to the community.

“This is truly a wonderful event where we get a chance to recognize some great people that really deserve it,” KCCBA President Jay Schwitzman said. “It’s also a great night because our annual dinner allows judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and court employees to gather in a social setting. The opportunity to meet socially is a welcome relief from the adversarial roles we usually play.”

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The KCCBA has hosted the annual dinner award ceremony for over 25 years. The theme for this year’s event was “Common Sense Justice.”

“Common sense dictates that certain cases should not be prosecuted,” Schwitzman said. “There is no reason for people to be arrested for silly crimes. I truly support the common sense approach that District Attorney Thompson takes.”

Brooklyn’s new DA, Ken Thompson, was one of the first to speak at the lavish event when he presented the Robert N. Kaye Memorial Award to Joseph P. Alexis, a Kings County Assistant District Attorney since 1991.

“Joe Alexis has worked for many years to keep the people of Brooklyn safe,” Thompson said. “He is one of the best prosecutors we have at the Brooklyn DA.”

Hon. Alan Marrus presented Virginia Raisch with the Non-Judicial Court Employee Award for her outstanding work as an associate court clerk in Part 35 at the Kings County Supreme Court, Criminal Term.

“Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia,” Marrus said in opening his remarks. “She epitomizes what a clerk should be. Virginia is a blessing to have as a clerk and I could not do my job without her. Everyone among the court staff loves Virginia.”

Laura Saft presented the Person of the Year Award to Lisa Schreibersdorf, who founded Brooklyn Defender Services in 1996. When it began, there were just 30 employees; now it has grown into a multi-disciplinary nationally-recognized public defense office with over 200 employees.

“It seems like yesterday, but it was 18 years ago that we had our very first staff meeting where she told me she was nervous, and Lisa is never nervous,” Saft recalled.

“I’ve gotten other awards, but this one means the most to me because it comes from my community,” Schreibersdorf said. “You people know me and you still gave me an award.”

Prior to presentation of the final award, an announcement was made that the award—originally called the Judicial Award—had been renamed the Gustin L. Reichbach Judicial Recognition Award in honor of the late Brooklyn judge known for his dignified and humanizing courtroom. 

“I’m honored to accept this award especially since it has now been named after Judge Reichbach,” Murphy said. “He was a courageous judge which isn’t always easy.”

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