Michael Cibella hosts final CLE meeting as Kings County Criminal Bar Association president
For the past two years, the Kings County Criminal Bar Association has been led by defense attorney Michael Cibella, but he is nearly ready to hand over the reigns after leading his final monthly meeting on Thursday, Nov. 29.
“It’s been really exciting leading this organization for these past two years,” Cibella said.
No one will blame Cibella when he finally steps down next month — he’s been quite busy these past few years. Under his leadership, the organization has been very active working with local charities and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to improve the criminal justice system locally.
One of the things Cibella is most proud of is the re-establishment of a law school scholarship named for Hon. Ruth E. Moskowitz, a former Brooklyn Supreme Court justice and prominent civil rights activist.
With the help of John Stella and Michael Farkas, the organization has given out two scholarships over the past two years to Brooklyn Law School students Erik Vande Stouwe and Aleksandra Ciric.
Cibella and the KCCBA didn’t stop at scholarships. He also donated each year to charities YWCA Brooklyn, Families Rising, which is part of the New York Foundling, and the Elementary School Sports League.
Of course Cibella was quick to point out that membership was a big reason why he was able to donate to charities and give scholarships to law school students. He especially credited Paul Hirsch for helping to create and run the association’s now annual golf outing which helped to raise a lot of money each year.
Cibella and the KCCBA also worked with the DA’s Office on things like fundraisers and policy issues. The two groups were able to donate 50 suits to people recently released from prison after a holiday coat drive, and Cibella stood next to District Attorney Eric Gonzalez when the latter announced that he was vacating 143,500 old summons warrants.
For his last continuing legal education meeting, the KCCBA and Cibella invited attorney Richard E. Mischel to lecture on the New York State Court of Appeals. Mischel talked about recent cases in the court and discussed his opinions since the court switched over from former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman to current Chief Judge Janet DiFiore.
“Since 2015, I’ve felt there has been a significant difference in that court including changes in personnel,” Mischel said. “A total of six people have been replaced.”
Mischel observed that the court is taking fewer cases in recent years and is becoming less likely to overturn a conviction in criminal cases.
“In recent criminal decisions the dissent has most often been from (Hon. Jenny Rivera) and (Hon. Rowan D. Wilson),” said Mischel. “The others usually confirm convictions.”
Cibella didn’t dwell too long on the fact that Thursday’s meeting was his last, though. He does, after all, still have the association’s holiday party to look forward to on Dec. 19, and he will lead the start of January’s meeting where the new president and executive board will be elected.
There will be an election and swearing-in ceremony at the next meeting. Christopher Wright is expected to take over the association.