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Justice Kamins gives annual search and seizure law update at Kings County Criminal Bar Association meeting

May 24, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Hon. Barry Kamins, who literally wrote the book on New York search and seizure laws, gives his annual update at the Kings County Criminal Bar Association. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese
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Search and seizure law is a cornerstone of criminal defense practice, which is why the Kings County Criminal Bar Association invited Justice Barry Kamins, the person who literally wrote the book on the subject, for an annual update in the dense field.

Justice Kamins, the former administrative judge of the Kings County Supreme Court, Criminal Term, wrote the first edition of “New York Search and Seizure” in 1991 and has updated it every year since. The 2018 edition just came out earlier this month.

“When I wrote it in 1991, I knew that there was no place for judges and lawyers to go to to find out what the law is,” Justice Kamins said. “I have written a new one each year because there are usually about 400 or 500 new cases that I have to incorporate.”

Kamins explained to the Brooklyn Eagle that because law enforcement builds much of its cases around searches, warrants and random frisks, and because every case can be unique, it makes for a field that needs to be constantly updated.

“It’s been a great source of pride for me to be able to help people in the legal community,” Kamins said. “Recently I was very proud to hear that the Appellate Division, First Judicial Department [Manhattan] cited my book in a decision on a conflict of laws.”

In order to stay up to date himself, Kamins said that he spends most of his spare time reading cases.

From left: Hon. Kevin McGrath, Michael Hueston and Michael Farkas. Photo by Michael Farkas

“I read a lot,” he joked. “Every day I open the law journal and say, ‘please god, let there not be another case. It’s a lot of reading but I’m so used to it now that it’s second nature.”

At a recent association continuing legal education meeting that took place on May 17, Justice Kamins spent the bulk of his time discussing Carpenter v. U.S., which is a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court that raises major fourth amendment implications involving law enforcement’s ability to access an individual’s cell phone location records without a warrant.

“That’s going to be a blockbuster Fourth Amendment case that will deal with the ability of law enforcement to get cell phone records from providers and the question is whether the police need a warrant,” Kamins explained. “Right now, they don’t.”

Kamins said that the courts generally do a good job keeping up with technology, but said that the problem is that it takes them a long time to review cases because arrests have to be made before a case will come before them. He added that many times jurisdictions are simply not aware of what type of new technologies a jurisdiction is even implementing.

The group will not host any other continuing legal education seminars until after the summer, however, it has two events coming up in the next few months including its annual summer bash on June 21 at Deity, and its charity golf outing on July 19 at the Marine Park Golf Course.


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