By David Brand
Senior Assistant District Attorney Sharon Scott Brooking couldn’t walk more than a few feet through the Queens Criminal Courthouse Monday without someone stopping her to commend her character, professionalism and years of service as a Queens prosecutor.
It was Scott Brooking’s last day after 34 years as a prosecutor in the Queens District Attorney’s Office and everyone — fellow assistant district attorneys, court officers and defense lawyers alike — wanted to thank her and wish her well.
“You’re honorable, professional, kind-hearted,” said defense attorney Debora Siegel.
“In this business, everything comes down to your word and your reputation,” added defense attorney Chandra Gomes. “Sharon has an amazing reputation. She is honorable and her word is her word.”
Scott Brooking entered the Queens DA’s Office in 1985, less than two years after earning her law degree from Howard University. She said she values the reputation, recognized by so many Monday, that she built over the last three decades.
“I am proud to have garnered a reputation with judges and the defense bar as an attorney with integrity,” she said. “I will miss the camaraderie that I share with so many in the courthouse.”
Scott Brooking said her most rewarding experience was the key role she played in implementing the Queens Treatment Court, where she was the first dedicated ADA assigned to the then-innovative program.
“I had the opportunity to work with so many talented judges, defense attorneys, resource coordinators, TASC [Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities] employees, court clerks and court officers,” she said. “What we did laid the groundwork for what it has become. The work we did was so important and helped so many people change their lives.”
People who completed the program and got their lives back on track also recall Scott Brooking’s influence.
“As recently as last year one of my defendants sought me out to tell me how well she was doing and I am glad that I got to play a part in making that happen,” she said.
By becoming a prosecutor, Scott Brooking followed in her family’s footsteps in public service. Throughout the 20th Century, her great-grandfather, grandfather and father each blazed a trail for people of color in New York City.
In 1916, her great grandfather became one of the first African Americans to work for the Department of Sanitation — then called the Department of Street Cleaning — and her grandfather worked for the Department of Correction.
Her father David Scott began working as an NYPD officer in the 9th Precinct before becoming the NYPD’s first African American Chief of Department.
“My dad was also a First Deputy Police Commissioner and after he retired he had a stint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board,” she said. “So city service is obviously in my blood.”
Service remains in the family’s blood. Scott Brooking married a fellow Queens prosecutor, Joseph Brooking and her son works as a clerk in the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. Her daughter is in graduate school for organizational communications.
As she plans her next move, Scott Brooking said she plans to travel, redo her house and finish writing a book about her great aunt Mabel Scott, a famous mid-century singer whose hits include “Baseball Boogie Woogie” and “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus.”
Scott Brooking said she is not yet sure what her next job will be, but one thing is certain: she would like to see the Queens DA’s Office better reflect the borough it serves.
“I would like to see more diversity in upper and middle management of the DA’s Office,” she said. “Especially in light of Queens being as diverse as it is — Southeast Queens in particular.”