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Kings County Criminal Bar Association examines consequences of criminal convictions

February 21, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Collateral consequences of the criminal justice system has become a recent hot topic. The Kings County Criminal Bar Association (KCCBA) brought in three attorneys to discuss the issue during its monthly meeting on Thursday. Pictured are KCCBA President Michael Cibella and Rochelle Klempner. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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The Kings County Criminal Bar Association discussed collateral consequences of criminal convictions during its monthly continuing legal education (CLE) meeting in Downtown Brooklyn on Thursday.

The discussion featured three attorneys, Rochelle Klempner, chief counsel to the NYS Courts Access to Justice program; Nicholas Mundy, a local immigration attorney; and Sergio Jimenez, director for the civil justice practice at the Brooklyn Defender Services.

“This discussion on collateral consequences is especially timely with everything that is going on today,” said Michael Cibella, president of the Kings County Criminal Bar Association (KCCBA). “There has been an emphasis on immigration consequences, but there are also people out there that need to be aware that certain charges will have housing or employment consequences as well and it is our job to let our clients know what these consequences are.”

Klempner opened the discussion by guiding attendees through the website, which is intended for use by the estimated 1.8 million people who appear in court in New York state each year without an attorney present.

“It’s written in plain language, it’s not written for lawyers. But there is a lot of information that would certainly be useful to you,” Klempner said. “There is a new criminal section that was added in October. It has 60 pages of content, including a section entirely devoted to collateral consequences.”

Mundy, who has operated a private immigration law practice since 1994, covered immigration law and common issues that arise that could lead to somebody entering into deportation proceedings for violating a minor law. He suggested that all criminal defense attorneys work with immigration attorneys when dealing with clients who are immigrants and warned that because of the Padilla V. Kentucky case, lawyers are responsible for warning clients of all possible immigration consequences to pleas.

“So what? Padilla V. Kentucky said that, but we’re all good lawyers who are trying to do the best for our clients in every possible situation anyway,” Mundy said. “The only way we can do that is to note collateral consequences whether that be immigration, housing, employment and licensing.”

Jimenez led the final portion of the CLE with a talk on housing consequences particularly for those who are in NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) housing and those who might want to apply in the future.

“There are — particularly for public housing — a lot of consequences, but the same is true even for private apartments,” Jimenez said. “There are laws that allow for eviction based off of criminal activity or even alleged criminal activity can get you evicted. There are three and a half pages are noncriminal conduct that can get you banned from NYCHA housing.”

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The bar has a few events coming up including Sam Gregory’s Brooklyn to Alaska fundraiser that will take place at the Brooklyn Historical Society on March 15. The group will also host NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill for a CLE at its monthly meeting on March 23.

“I’ve heard the commissioner speak at the Police Athletic League events. I think he has a good message that is worth hearing and it’s great that he’s looking to meet other members of the criminal justice community and hear from us,” Cibella said of Commissioner O’Neill.

The KCCBA annual dinner has been scheduled for April 22nd, during which past President Gary Farrell will be honored with the Person of the Year Award. The late District Attorney Ken Thompson will also be honored posthumously with the Robert Kaye Award. Other honorees include William J. Edwards, who will accept the Non-Attorney Court Employee Award, and Hon. Michael Gary, who will accept the Hon. Gustin Reichbach Memorial Award.


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