Brooklyn Boro

Kings County criminal bar re-elects officers at annual meeting

January 19, 2016 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
From left: Hon. Michael Yavinsky, Hon. Miriam Cyrulnik, Hon. Andrew Borrok and KCCBA President Michael Farkas. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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The Kings County Criminal Bar Association (KCCBA) officially re-elected its officers and board members during its annual meeting at the Brooklyn Bar Association on Thursday night. The meeting also gave KCCBA President Michael Farkas an opportunity to give his “state of the association” speech.

“After one year of my administration, the roof has not crumbled and we still operate,” Farkas joked. “Honestly, I’m happy to report that we had a stellar 2015.”

Justice Matthew D’Emic, administrative judge for criminal matter in the Kings County Supreme Court, swore in Farkas as president of the organization for his second one-year term. D’Emic then proceeded to swear in the rest of the officers, including Michael Cibella as the executive vice president; Arthur Aidala, Michael Millet, Estelle Roond and Michael Hueston as vice presidents; Christopher Wright as treasurer and Danielle Eaddy as secretary.

During his “state of the association” address, Farkas noted that he’s proud of the cooperation that he’s seen among the organizations involved in the Brooklyn criminal justice system. Farkas also touted the group’s successful Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program.

“The amount of cooperation and coordination between agencies in our system is fantastic,” Farkas said. “I certainly haven’t heard any complaints, only positive comments. So thank you for working together to make justice work in Brooklyn.

“We had some amazing CLE programs and controversial ones in 2015,” Farkas continued. “We went from Jerry Capeci in gangland to Ron Kuby in…I don’t know what land that was, but it was entertaining.”

Farkas also noted that the association’s summer party in June, holiday party in December and its annual dinner last March were all huge successes.

“It was a summer party of all summer parties,” said Farkas. “We had a fantastic holiday party honoring three venerable retiring justices [Hon. Albert Tomei, Hon. Sheryl Parker and Hon. Joel Goldberg] and we had the most successful, both financially as well as attended, annual dinner in the history of this organization back in March.”

New Supervised Release CLE

It wasn’t all elections and speeches — the KCCBA also sat down for its monthly CLE session as a team of experts, including Hon. Michael Yavinsky, supervising judge of the Kings County Criminal Court, introduced the city’s new pre-trial supervision program.

The program, which is expected to roll out in March, offers an alternative to bail for people arrested who pose a minimal flight risk. In addition to Yavinsky, Miriam Popper, program director for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, Orleny Rojas, the citywide supervised release coordinator for the Center for Court Innovation, and Jessica Kay, Courtney Bryan, Jonathan Monsalve and John Clark were on hand for the discussion.

“We’re introducing one of our new initiatives called supervised release which is a pretrial release program,” Popper said. “[Members of the KCCBA] are going to be seeing it in court and they’re going to have to be the ones to use it. We’re explaining to them what it is and what it isn’t, what they’ll see in court and how the process will work.”

Farkas said that the KCCBA members are thrilled to see a new program like this one being implemented.

“This is a major and welcome development to criminal defense practitioners and perhaps the most significant ‘bail reform’ in decades,” Farkas said. “We will now have an alternative to bail aside from the different forms of bail. With the institution of New York City’s first pre-trial release program, defendants and their attorneys will have much more flexibility when presenting bail alternatives to the court.

“We fully support this initiative and look forward to working with the mayor’s office of criminal justice in the future,” Farkas added.

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