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Judge Kamins lectures on search and seizure law at Kings County Criminal Bar Association meeting

May 19, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
From left: KCCBA President Michael Cibella with CLE speaker Hon. Barry Kamins and past President Gary Farrell. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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The Kings County Criminal Bar Association (KCCBA) hosted Hon. Barry Kamins, the former administrative judge of the Kings County Supreme Court, Criminal Term, for a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) lecture on recent developments in search and seizure law at the Brooklyn Bar Association on Thursday night.

“Judge Kamins is a person who needs no introduction to our membership,” said KCCBA President Michael Cibella. “He’s the expert on search and seizure because he literally wrote the book. We’re lucky to have him here to give us an update on developments to search and seizure law.”

Kamins, who currently works at the law firm Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, is the author of “New York Search & Seizure” which is updated annually. In addition to being a past president of the organization, Kamins also gives regular updates on search and seizure law to KCCBA members.

Kamins covered many topics including probable cause, the exclusionary rule, standing, street encounters, searches and search warrants, exceptions to the requirement of a search warrant and automobile stops.

“When it comes to probable cause, the court has been much more flexible in recent years than it used to be,” Kamins said.

“Back in the 80s, (after People v McRay), it was a fairly strict set of criteria — what type of exchange was it? Was it a manila envelope? Was there currency observed?” Kamins continued. “All of that changed in 1990 when the Jones case came into the Court of Appeals and the court said, ‘No, we’re going to be more expansive and look at — has there been drug activity or drug transactions?’”

When it came to the topic of suppression hearings, Kamins noted that it seems that the topic of police credibility is being raised more often, including by judges in Brooklyn.

“In tonight’s outline, there were at least four decisions where the court found officers not to be credible and as a result they have suppressed evidence,” Kamins said, referring to the cases: People v. Simon, People v. Duran, People v. McManus and People v. Pendley.

“The Simon case where officers testified that as they approached the vehicle they were able to smell the odor of marijuana coming from it, but under the facts, as you read the case, you’ll see that it was impossible for officers to do that.”

Kamins is taking part in a CLE at the New York City Bar Association on the topic of police credibility on Oct. 3. He will be joined by Lawrence Byrne, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters; Alan Dershowitz; and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.

The KCCBA’s next event is its annual summer bash at Hill Country BBQ on Friday, June 16. There will be two bands featuring court officers from Brooklyn and Manhattan. It’s free to members whose dues are up to date.

The KCCBA is also holding a charity golf outing on Thursday, July 13 at the Marine Park Golf Course. Proceeds from that event will go toward the KCCBA’s Ruth E. Moskowitz Scholarship, which will be awarded to a Brooklyn Law School student entering the criminal justice field. The scholarship will be given out at the September CLE meeting.


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