Three from Brooklyn honored at annual Milton Mollen Awards
Three members of the Brooklyn legal community were honored during the eighth annual Milton Mollen Commitment to Excellence Awards ceremony at the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department courthouse in Brooklyn Heights on Wednesday.
There were eight honorees in total, including Joseph Leddo, court clerk specialist at the Brooklyn Supreme Court, Civil Term; Haydee Mason, secretary at the Mental Hygiene Legal Services, Appellate Division, Second Department; and Gregory N. Edwards, senior LAN administrator at the Appellate Division, Second Department.
“Our award recipients exemplify the ‘can-do’ spirit that has enabled our courts to function effectively despite the challenges that we face in getting the work done,” said Hon. Alan Scheinkman, presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department. “All of the honorees have gone the extra mile that serves as an inspiration for all who have had the pleasure of working with them.”
The other honorees included John F. Hussey, chief clerk of the Rockland County Supreme Court; Jean McNee, case management coordinator of the Nassau County Court; Michael Scardino, chief clerk of the Suffolk County Supreme Court, Criminal Term; Michael Cheung, technical manager of the Queens County Supreme Court, Criminal Term; and Michael Bisceglie, court officer at the Richmond County Supreme Court.
Prior to handing out the awards, Presiding Justice Scheinkman and Scott E. Mollen, the son of Hon. Milton Mollen, spoke briefly about the award’s namesake, who served as a judge of the criminal court, justice of the supreme court, presiding justice of Appellate Division, Second Department, and as a judge on the NYS Court of Appeals.
Justice Mollen also served as the deputy mayor for public safety and criminal justice, helped to create the Mitchell Lama program and was the chair of the Mollen Commission, which investigated corruption in the NYPD.
“His service is really the stuff of legend,” Justice Scheinkman said.
His son Scott also shared tales of his father’s service during World War II.
To hear Scott recall his father’s days in World War II, it was lucky that Mollen had a chance to serve in any public service positions at all.
“He was one of the first radar-trained navigators,” Mollen said. “He earned the privilege of flying the lead plane in the bomber squadrons that went over Germany, the position with the highest fatality rate.
“He was shot down after dropping bombs in Germany,” Mollen continued. “He was in a plane with 12 people; only four survived. He was wounded, captured by the Nazis and put in a prison camp. In that prison camp, they shot 50 people for trying to escape. When he was moved to a different prison camp, he escaped. I once asked him why he took that risk. His simple answer was, ‘I didn’t like it there.’”
Each presenter then gave a brief introduction of the honorees before handing over the Mollen Award, an engraved glass bowl. One honoree, John F. Hussey, the chief clerk IV at the Rockland County Supreme Court, had to accept his award via Skype as he is currently on active duty and stationed at the U.S. Military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Hon. Lawrence Knipel, the administrative judge of the Kings County Supreme Court, Civil Term, and Chief Clerk of that court Charles Small presented Joseph Leddo with his award. They both talked about the incredible job Leddo has done setting up and running the court’s e-filing department.
“A couple of years ago there was a pilot program with e-filing in Manhattan,” Knipel said. “When that was successful, it went out to the counties. We immediately decided to do a e-file department. I think we were the first in the state. It was the great idea to form this department of Chief Clerk Charles Small. I said, ‘We’re going to do it, but I want the best person in Brooklyn to run it because it has to succeed.’ Without a moment’s hesitation, Charles said, ‘Joe Leddo.’ Joe Leddo did it, and it has worked out wonderfully.”
Michael Neville, director of the Mental Hygiene Legal Service, presented Mason with her award and called her the “de facto office manager” of the Brooklyn office. Justice Scheinkman himself then presented Edwards with his award and noted that even during the ceremony, Edwards was working to set up Skype for the presentation to Hussey.
“He’s a great role model for other staff,” Scheinkman said of Edwards. He’s professional, skilled, caring, eager, conscientious, thoughtful and dedicated.”
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