KCCBA to spotlight Jay Schwitzman in upcoming annual awards dinner
The Kings County Criminal Bar Association (KCCBA) is preparing for its much-anticipated annual awards dinner on Thursday. The spotlight will be on Jay Schwitzman, who reinvigorated the association during his tenure as president, transforming it into the dynamic entity it is today. The dinner will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at Giando on the Water, located at 400 Kent Ave. in Brooklyn.
In addition to Schwitzman, this year’s honorees include a distinguished group of professionals: Justice Evelyn J. Laporte, ADA Michelle Kaminsky, Ariadne Sigault and Lt. Mike Garcia. Each honoree has made notable contributions to Brooklyn’s criminal justice community, and the event seeks to honor the ongoing work of lawyers, judges and court staff in the borough.
“I know and have worked with them all individually, and I think they are each fantastic in their own right,” said Michael Farkas, a past president of the KCCBA. “I refer to Jay as the ‘father of the modern-day KCCBA.’ He reinvigorated the organization and made it into a much more active stakeholder in the Brooklyn criminal justice community.
“I had a front row seat to his tireless efforts when I was his vice president, and I can tell you that there were never enough meetings and events that he could attend in order to make the KCCBA’s voice more influential within our profession,” Farkas continued. “All of the organization’s presidents that have come after him, and, indeed, all of us who practice here in Brooklyn, owe him a great debt of gratitude.”
Jay Schwitzman became the president of KCCBA in January 2013 and brought a new vitality to the association. Under his leadership, monthly meetings became more engaging, featuring speakers who covered relevant and pressing topics for the membership. Schwitzman is a Brooklyn native and a graduate of SUNY Stony Brook and Quinnipiac School of Law. With a legal career spanning 35 years, he has managed more than 2,500 criminal cases.
“We are always striving to figure out how to improve it so that the public has the confidence in the criminal justice system,” Schwitzman said in a previous interview, underlining the importance of effective communication and ongoing education among legal professionals.
Justice Evelyn Laporte, one of the event’s honorees, serves on the Supreme Court of the State of New York and is expected to retire at the end of the year. Her career is particularly noteworthy for its unconventional start; she originally came to the U.S. from Puerto Rico with the aim of becoming a flight attendant.
Educational pursuits took her to John Jay College, where she not only learned English but also completed a master’s degree in criminal justice. Eventually, she made the leap into law, earning her credentials from Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., and making a successful bid for a judicial seat in 2004.
Another honoree, ADA Michelle Kaminsky, has an extensive background in legal service, particularly in the area of gender-based violence. Kaminsky serves as the chief of the Gender-Based Violence Division at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and has been actively involved in prosecuting domestic violence and other complex cases.
Her roles extend beyond the courtroom, as she also coordinates policy initiatives and works closely with victim advocacy groups.
Rounding out the list of honorees are Ariadne Sigault, who was named Supreme Court Employee of the Year in 2016, and Lt. Mike Garcia. Both have been recognized for their contributions to the legal community in Brooklyn and beyond.
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