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Justice Kamins returns to KCCBA for annual Search & Seizure update after three-year hiatus

March 24, 2023 Robert Abruzzese
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BROOKLYN — It’s a good sign that things are back to normal when Hon. Barry Kamins was finally back at the Kings County Criminal Bar Association (KCCBA) meeting giving his annual Search & Seizure continuing legal education lecture in person.

Hon. Barry Kamins with KCCBA President Darran Winslow (right).

Justice Kamins, a former administrative judge in the Kings County Supreme Court, Criminal Term, and a past president of the KCCBA, is well known for his legal writings on search and seizure and evidence. He gives an annual update every year to the KCCBA, except for the past three years, due to COVID, however, he was back in person at the Brooklyn Bar Association building on Thursday, March 9, just like the pre-pandemic days.

“He is such a beautiful reflection of what makes this such a wonderful place to practice,” KCCBA President Darran Winslow said. “He’s an incredible ambassador for us. He’s not just really smart, but he’s a great person and is always there for us at the KCCBA. For that we are always grateful.”

Judge Kamins started off his CLE by talking about ChatGPT and joked that since its cutoff on new information is 2021 that he was still necessary to give the annual update.

In his discussion of recent developments in search and seizure, Kamins highlighted a 3rd Department case that has expanded the scope of the Fourth Amendment — People v. Jones (2022).

This case established that the exclusionary rule can be applied to racially-motivated traffic stops, even when an officer has probable cause to believe a traffic offense occurred. The exclusionary rule is a legal principle in the United States that prevents evidence obtained in violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights from being used against them in a court of law. It is designed to deter law enforcement officers from conducting unlawful searches and seizures, ensuring that the rights of individuals are upheld during criminal investigations and proceedings.

Justice Kamins explained that the NYPD has terminated a controversial police initiative that prolonged stops during street encounters.

From left: Adam Bolotin, Hon. Barry Kamins, and Jay Schwitzman.

“After someone was stopped and there was no more reasonable suspicion, they continued to detain an individual, ask for an ID, check to see if there are any warrants, and if there was a warrant to arrest that person and charge them with anything on them,” Kamins said. “That has now stopped. If there is no more reasonable suspicion they must release the person. This, of course, affected 100,000’s of people who had warrants and who were being brought to court improperly because the reasonable suspicion had dissipated.”

There is currently a backlog in the Court of Appeals due to a shortage of judges. Kamins explained that this has led to some cases being rescheduled for a second argument after they have already been argued this past fall.

From left: Michael Cibella, Stacey Richman, Michael Farkas, Allison Lewis, Paul Hirsch and David Walensky.

“There is a logjam now in the Court of Appeals because seven judges are not there,” Kamins said. “In fact three cases that were argued in the fall last year had to be rescheduled for a second argument, which is very unusual. In these cases there was enough disagreement among the six judges so they could not formulate a decision so they’re waiting on a new chief judge to reargue those cases.”

One of those cases is an important case — Lance Rodriguez deals with a bicyclist and the question is whether the rules of traffic stop should apply or the rules of DeBour and street accounters should apply. It’s an important case that the NY Civil Liberties Union is very interested in, Kamins explained.

Allison Lewis, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society, was also on hand to plug the upcoming 8th Annual Questioning Forensics Conference.

Allison Lewis, Staff Attorney, DNA Unit/Homicide Defense Task Force at The Legal Aid Society.

The conference attracts around 100-200 defense attorneys from the United States and features lawyers, scientists, and policy advocates speaking on topics of interest to the defense community. The conference covers a range of topics from the basics of DNA transfer to litigating trade secrets.

This year’s conference, the 8th annual event, will focus on misleading testimony and the role of human factors in forensics. It is titled “A juror, an expert & an algorithm walk into a courtroom: Miscommunication in forensics” and will be held in person in NYC on March 23 and 24 at CUNY Law School.

The KCCBA has rescheduled its upcoming CLE on March 30, but it is currently selling tickets for its CLE on July 25 which will take place at Yankee Stadium prior to the Mets-Yankees game that day. Contact President Winslow for tickets.

Ian Niles (left) and Mark Muccigrosso.
From left: Natoya McGhie, Christopher Wright, Craig Newman and Hon. Joanne Quinones.
Mario Romano (left) and Hon. Joanne Quinones.

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