Brooklyn Criminal Bar Association holds CLE meeting at Yankee Stadium
While nearly 47,000 Yankees fans attended last week’s game against the Red Sox to see superstar Aaron Judge, at least 30 members of the Kings County Criminal Bar Association were there to see a different judge — Hon. Matthew D’Emic.
While the Yankees prepared to take on the rival Red Sox on Sept. 20, members of the KCCBA held a continuing legal education seminar where Justice D’Emic, administrative judge of the Supreme Court, Criminal Term, lectured on diversity, inclusion and elimination of bias for an hour inside the stadium.
“This is our first CLE at Yankee Stadium,” said KCCBA President Michael Cibella. “Thank you, Andy Rendeiro, for helping to put this together. We’ve had an awesome response so we’re definitely going to do this again next year. Hopefully we’ll have a little more planning and get even more people to come out.”
Members met approximately two hours before the game started and were treated to hot dogs, drinks and hot pretzels. They also received Yankees hats. After some networking, the group went into an area set aside for them to listen to the judge speak.
“He’s not even a big baseball fan, he’s just here to talk about diversity,” Cibella said. “He’s very giving of the criminal bar association and we greatly appreciate him.”
Over the next hour, Justice D’Emic gave a lecture titled, “Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias in the Judiciary and Legal Profession: how much have we done, how much have we yet to do?”
“It’s a broad topic, of course,” Justice D’Emic said. “I hope to make it interesting by giving some examples of the harm done by judges and others in the legal profession most often unconsciously, but sometimes consciously as the result of preconceived notions and biases and excluding people because of perceived differences treating them as others.”
Justice D’Emic brought up a number of cases where judges or attorneys showed bias, both explicit and implicit, and explained its negative impacts in each case.
“What can we do? What strategies can we employ?” Judge D’Emic asked. “I think when faced with an important decision, we have to spend time listening and thinking. It sounds simple, but do we do it? Do we take our intuitive thoughts, those that occur spontaneously and think them through? We have to engage in deliberate thought.”
As of Jan. 1, 2018, New York state began requiring attorneys to attend CLE lectures each year on the topic of diversity and bias. It is the third state, joining Minnesota and California to adopt such a rule after a 2016 recommendation by the American Bar Association.
The KCCBA will hold its next CLE meeting at the Brooklyn Bar Association in Brooklyn Heights on Oct. 18. The speaker that night will be attorney Jerome Greco from the Legal Aid Society, and he will give a lecture titled, “Gathering and Using Cell Phone and Location Evidence in a Criminal Case.”
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