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Brooklyn Law School continues with Professor Robert Pitler’s legacy CLE

October 24, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Law School interim Dean and Professor of Law Maryellen Fullerton. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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Approximately 30 years ago, Brooklyn Law School professor Bob Pitler organized a comprehensive Continuing Legal Education seminar for the criminal bar in New York City that included some of the most up to date materials on a plethora of subjects.

Over the years, the seminar became one of the school’s most popular events and, even three years after Pitler’s death, remains intact as a comprehensive and popular CLE.

“Bob Pitler was a longtime faculty member here,” said interim Dean Maryellen Fullerton. “He was a great friend of mine and he was also a great curmudgeon. Those of you who know him know I’m telling the truth. He was principled, he was passionate, he was tireless, and he was a storehouse of knowledge.”

As Dean Fullerton explained, Pitler became known as a mentor to law school students, even after he graduated. In fact, many attorneys practicing in the Brooklyn legal community counted him as a mentor, a big reason his legacy has continued.

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“Not only did he mentor the law students, but [he was] also a mentor to the larger legal community,” Fullerton said. “For almost 30 years prior to Bob’s death in 2015, he offered a comprehensive CLE opportunity for the criminal bar in New York with the most up-to-date materials, the best showing and the most respected faculty.”

Since Pitler’s death in 2015, the program has been running with the help of Hon. Barry Kamins, a partner at the firm Aidala, Bertuna and Kamins, an adjunct professor at the school and former administrative judge of the Brooklyn Supreme Court, Criminal Term.

“When Bob died, we thought about how we could keep this program going because it served such a good purpose and it is a wonderful reminder of his memory,” Fullerton said. “We were incredibly lucky to have Judge Barry Kamins agree to take it on and to help organize it.”

“Judge Kamins has put blood, sweat and tears into maintaining this program that we thought is such an important legacy to Bob Pitler,” said Stacy Kaplow, associate dean of Professional Legal Education.

The CLE, which previously took place over the court of a full Saturday, has been split into two parts with the first on Friday, Oct. 19 with Judge Kamins lecturing on search and seizure.

Kamins, who authored the book, “New York Search and Seizure,” covered recent updates in the field including a U.S. Supreme Court case, Carpenter v. United States, that has set the president in a number of other cases.

“The Supreme Court has come down with one of the most important decisions in years in criminal procedure in the Carpenter case,” Judge Kamins said. “That has decided a number of other cases dealing with probable cause, with standing and the automobile exception.”

He also covered developments in De Bour and discussed a split between the Court of Appeals and Second Circuit on the application of the Payton Doctrine, with regards to making arrests at the threshold of residents.

“We always talk about De Bour every year,” Kamins said. “It’s been out there for about 41 years dealing with evaluating street encounters. We now have three judges of our Court of Appeals that have taken strong positions on whether DeBour has outlived its usefulness. Of course, the three judges don’t agree amongst themselves on that issue.”

That was followed by CLEs hosted by Hon. Mark Dwyer, a judge in the Court of Claims; Genia Blaser, a senior staff attorney at the Immigration Defense Project; Patricia Lavelle, from the Legal Aid Society; David Satnarine, from the Brooklyn DA’s Office, and professor Caplow herself.

The CLE will continue on Friday, Oct. 26 with lecturers including Hon. William C. Donnino, Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson Richardson, Jorge Dopico, chief attorney at the Grievance Committee, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department; Richard M. Maltz and Tyler Maulsby of Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein and Selz; Richard E. Mischel, of Mischel and Horn; and Polly Puner, from the Bronx DA’s Office.

“Bob was so passionate about students and so concerned that he wanted to make sure that he helped fund the post-graduate stipends for alums that have worked more than five years in public prosecution and defense jobs,” Fullerton said. “By coming here today, you are an important part of Bob’s legacy and helping to keep this program going.”


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