By David Brand
More than two dozen attorneys joined the district attorney’s office Monday after completing an assistant DA training program.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown praised the 25 law school graduates in a statement.
“These young women and men were hired after a highly selective recruitment process that I established soon after I became the District Attorney,” Brown said. “They are bright young professionals from some of the nation’s finest law schools who have elected to enter public service and serve the people of Queens County as prosecutors. I know that they will serve with distinction.”
After earning their law degrees, the assistants began an intensive training course led by Assistant District Attorney and Trial Advocacy Director Kevin M. Duddy.
The program included lectures, courtroom observation and mock hearings. They also went on patrol with police officers, participated in simulations at the NYPD’s Tactics House and studied firearms at the Police Department’s outdoor firing range, according to the DA’s office. The assistants also visited jails and alternative sentencing programs.
The 25 new prosecutors will start out in the Criminal Court/Intake Bureau and then have an opportunity to work in the Appeals Bureau and the Investigations Division. Thereafter, they will enter an intensive trial training program prior to being assigned to the Supreme Court Trial Bureau.
The new assistant district attorneys include:
Sara M. Aronbayev, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
Danielle Catinella, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
Leighanne Daly, St. John’s University School of Law
Davon Dennis, University of Georgia School of Law
Xhulia Derhemi, New York Law School
Eugene Dirks, St. John’s University School of Law
Amanda L. Dolan, Northeastern University School of Law
Nia Fung, The Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law
Matthew Garber, Fordham University School of Law
Joshua Garland, Fordham University School of Law
Anais Holland-Rudd, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Peter R. Isham, Northwestern University School of Law
Victoria LaGreca, Fordham University School of Law
Christina Mavrikis, St. John’s University School of Law
Hugh McCann, University of New Hampshire School of Law
Annabel Mireles, New York Law School
Jesse A. Montes, Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center
Erin Mullins, St. John’s University School of Law
Dylan A. Nesturrick, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University
Mia Piccininni, St. John’s University School of Law
Natasha R. Pooran,City University of New York School of Law
Shivani Sharma, Brooklyn Law School
Christine Thambuswamy, Brooklyn Law School
Christopher Theodorou, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University
Nicole Vasquez, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University
The prosecutors begin their careers amid potential changes in the DA’s office.
Brown’s current term ends in 2019 and, when asked last week if Brown, 85, would run for re-election, a spokesperson for the DA’s office cited a statement Brown made in August.
“My present term does not expire until December 2019 and I will make no decision about the future until sometime next year,” said Brown, who has served as DA since 1991.
On Sept. 25, Council Member Rory Lancman officially announced his candidacy for the 2019 district attorney election. Lancman, a criminal justice reformer, said he would shift prosecutorial priorities, implement open discovery and work to end cash bail in an effort to end mass incarceration. He said he welcomes comparisons to Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner who has implemented similar reforms in his county — Philadelphia County is coterminous with the city of Philadelphia — of roughly 1.6 million people.
After taking office earlier this year, Krasner dismissed 31 prosecutors who he determined did not buy in to his reforms, such as ceasing the prosecution of low-level marijuana offenses and beginning plea deals at the lower end of the sentencing guidelines.
On Sept. 25, Lancman told the Eagle he would not hesitate to dismiss assistants who did not support the similar systemic changes he proposes.
“I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone in the DA’s office,” Lancman said. “But if I am elected district attorney, everyone in that office from the junior line staff to the senior executive assistants need to be enthusiastically on board with the program [or] they’ll need to find somewhere else to work.”