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Three retiring judges honored at KCCBA party

December 18, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Kings County Criminal Bar Association honored three retiring justices during its annual holiday party on Thursday night. Pictured from left: KCCBA President Michael Farkas, Hon. Albert Tomei, Hon. Sheryl Parker and Hon. Joel Goldberg. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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The Kings County Criminal Bar Association (KCCBA) typically doesn’t do speeches at its annual holiday party, but this year was an exception as it honored three retiring Criminal Court judges that it felt made a big impact on the bench — Hon. Albert Tomei, Hon. Sheryl Parker and Hon. Joel Goldberg.

“We’re breaking with a bit of tradition this year — we never do remarks at a party because it’s bad form,” said KCCBA President Michael Farkas. “But this year is special, very special, because the last time we had such a loss in Brooklyn, the Dodgers left to go to Los Angeles.

“Many of you are probably feeling that feeling of emptiness and pain that Brooklynites felt back then,” Farkas continued. “When judges of this caliber who have become members of our family retire, we lose a piece of ourselves, and the judiciary will never be the same. The criminal bar would never let this go unnoticed, and that’s why we’re here.”

The trio has more than 75 years of experience on the bench between them, so the group held a special ceremony and gave each judge a plaque to commemorate their retirement.

Goldberg, who was appointed to the bench in 1987 by then-Mayor Ed Koch, served as an appeals chief in the District Attorney’s Office, a deputy chief assistant district attorney and a deputy chief of the Supreme Court Bureau prior to becoming a criminal judge.

“I don’t want to say goodbye, I want to say thank you,” Goldberg said. “Thank you, for making the 28 years that I’ve been on the bench the wonderful experience that it has been.”

Parker served as a criminal judge for 26 years. Prior, she served in the New York County’s DA’s Office, was deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation and assistant commissioner of the NYC Department of Finance. Farkas described her job in the Juvenile Offenders Part as one of the toughest in the city, and credited her with saving more lives than most people ever get the chance to.

“Working with the bar association, the defense attorneys and prosecutors, has been a real honor for me,” Parker said. “You are an intelligent, accomplished and ethical group and that is what has made this job so interesting. Every day in my job it was fun, a challenge and rewarding. Working in the Juvenile Offenders Part was something I requested, but when I started my hair wasn’t this color.”

Tomei has been a criminal judge for 21 years. Formerly, he was a Civil Court judge and served as an interim surrogate judge briefly in 2005. Farkas remarked that there are few judges that any of the KCCBA members have tried more cases in front of than Tomei, and claimed that he has the best wit of anyone on the bench.

“These last 37 years have been an impossible dream, and like every dream it comes to an end,” Tomei said. “My grandmother had a saying — life is like a dream, one day you wake up and it’s over. Don’t feel sorry for me, I’m going to California to be with the Dodgers.”

This was the last meeting of the year for the KCCBA. Its next event, its annual meeting and CLE, will be held on Jan. 14, 2016, at the Brooklyn Bar Association on Remsen Street.

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