Brooklyn Boro

Former DA Hynes celebrated for career as a reformer

Hynes Thanks Loyal Supporters Who Stayed by His Side During Investigation

May 22, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes (center) was honored by state Sen. Marty Golden (left) and Arthur Aidala (right), immediate past president of the Brooklyn Bar Association, during a celebration in Manhattan on Friday. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese

More than 100 members of Brooklyn’s legal community, including many current and retired judges, gathered together at the Water Club in Manhattan on Friday where they celebrated the career of former District Attorney Charles “Joe” Hynes.

“The whole idea behind this was just to create a forum for anyone who wanted to come and say a quick hello to Mr. Hynes, but have not been able to do so for some time,” said Arthur Aidala, the immediate past president of the Brooklyn Bar Association who worked for Hynes from 1993 until 1997. “This is the man who gave me my first job after I passed the bar. He and his family mean so much to me and to so many.”

State Sen. Marty Golden spoke about some of Hynes’ accomplishments, from his service in the marines, his work with the Legal Aid Society and his position as a special prosecutor for the city to his time as a Fire Department commissioner and as district attorney, and presented him with a proclamation on behalf of the state Senate.

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While everyone had praised the work he did for the city, Hynes’ son Sean Hynes spoke about his father — the hero who saved his grandmother mother from the abuse of her husband.


“My father spent most of his career and life saving lives,” Sean Hynes said. “Before he began his illustrious career in public service, he saved a life in his home. For years, as a young child, he watched his mother get beaten by his father. When he got old enough, he pushed his father out of his house, saving his mother’s life.”

Hynes went on to explain that it was his grandmother who helped his father overcome his rough childhood and that her lessons carried over to his work to establish treatment programs including the Drug Treatment Alternatives to Prison (DTAP) program, the Adopt a School program and the Brooklyn Family Justice Center.

“As DA in Brooklyn he was more proud of the programs that saved lives than the conviction statistics,” his son Sean explained. “His cutting edge programs, Adopt A School, DTAP and his work with collateral consequences saved lives. He often told me that justice is not only about punishing folks who broke the law, but also serving the public good by being part of the solution.”

Hynes was joined by his wife Patricia L. Pennisi and three of their children when he thanked everyone, especially his wife, for their support. Nearly a year removed from a stroke, Hynes might move more slowly, but he spoke in a powerful voice as he denounced the allegations, which were dropped last December, that he had misused public money in his 2013 re-election bid.

“I really can’t thank you all enough for coming today, it means so much to me, particularly after you heard about the stroke and the investigation, as it was referred to,” Hynes said. “To have your reputation torn apart by unfinished, unsigned series of allegations that were dumped in the lap of the U.S. attorney, and the state attorney general’s office, were just disgraceful, but that’s the way it was.

“I can’t thank you enough; all of the people in this room, the people who called me on the phone during all of this nonsense that went on for 30 months. I never worried because I did nothing wrong, but it was a tough period for Pat and my children. So I can’t thank you enough for supporting me.”

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