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Kings County Criminal Bar Association honors 4 at annual dinner

Late DA Ken Thompson Posthumously Honored

April 24, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Michael Cibella (left) and the Kings County Criminal Bar Association presented Gary Farrell (center, with Christopher D. Wright) with the Person of the Year Award at the KCCBA annual dinner on Saturday. Eagle photos by Mario Belluomo

The Kings County Criminal Bar Association (KCCBA) hosted its annual dinner on Saturday where it honored four, including the late Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, during a celebration at Giando on the Water in Williamsburg.

“We had great honorees, we were joined by so many great people — supreme court judges, criminal court judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors, court officers, clerks, executive ADAs, past bar association presidents, current bar association presidents, soon-to-be presidents [and] past honorees,” said KCCBA President Michael Cibella.

Thompson was honored with the Robert N. Kaye Memorial Award, which was accepted by his widow Lu-Shawn Thompson. William J. Edwards, senior court clerk in the state Supreme Court, Kings County, received the Non-Judicial Court Employee Award, Justice Michael Gary received the Gustin L. Reichbach Judicial Recognition Award and past KCCBA President Gary Farrell received the Person of the Year Award.

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The immediate past President Michael Farkas was also presented with a plaque in recognition of his two-year term as president.


Before giving out the awards, Cibella requested a moment of silence for the members of the Brooklyn criminal justice community who passed away over the past year, including Thompson, ADA Terence Fleming-Warren and Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam.

“Although Kenny [Ken Thompson] transitioned nearly seven months ago, the spirit of his commitment is bettering the criminal justice system and to operate with fairness and integrity will live on,” said Lu-Shawn Thompson. “Because of his commitment, young people will no longer be saddled with a lifelong criminal record of minor [marijuana] offenses, 21 people who have been wrongly convicted have returned home to their loved ones, and all while New York remains one of the safest cities in the nation.”

Hon. Barry Kamins introduced Cibella to begin the ceremony, after which Cibella introduced the honorees and discussed why each was right for their award. He spoke of Edwards and his ability to keep the courthouse running smoothly, and explained how Justice Gary runs a fair courtroom. When introducing Farrell, he remarked that everyone in the room, more than 400 attendees, had received advice from the stalwart of the legal community.

“I knew that I could call on Gary for anything I needed, that I could get advice from him and learn from [him], like everyone in this room has done,” Cibella said. “He’s been a tremendous help to me as a defense attorney and he’s who we all aspire to be as attorneys. He’s the go-to person that everyone seeks out when they need help. When they need a lawyer, even for themselves, they seek out Gary. There is no one more qualified for this award.”

Farrell ribbed Cibella for changing the format of the awards program, shared war stories and remarked a bit about each of the honorees. He admitted that when he was president of the KCCBA that he was probably under-qualified, and thanked Hon. Barry Kamins and George Farkas, both past presidents, for showing faith in him.

“Of course, I’d like to thank the academy — I always wanted to say that,” Farrell joked. “But seriously, for us this is it. This is the Emmys, Tonys, Grammys, Oscars and Golden Globes all wrapped up into one. I’m honored.

“Being a defense attorney is a lone-wolf kind of experience, but thankfully I have these great friends to commiserate with after the many loses and celebrate the fairly rare wins.”

 


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