By Andy Katz
The Queens County Assistant District Attorney’s Association held its summer celebration at Austin’s Ale House in Kew Gardens Thursday, using the event as an opportunity to honor the-late Richard Brown, Queens County’s longest serving District Attorney and a former state Supreme Court justice.
“You know you’re all Judge Richard A. Brown ADAs,” said Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan. “Whatever happens in the future, that doesn’t change. Be proud of that.”
“I’ve been 47 years in this office. I won’t repeat what my first day was like, but I assure you, if you think things are unsettled now, they’re actually calm compared to 47 years ago,” Ryan added. “You will get through this because you are good. We hired you because you are good. You will remain good. You will do well regardless of what happens. I’m proud of you. God bless you.”
The uncertain Democratic primary for district attorney has prompted concern about some Queens prosecutors. Public defender Tiffany Cabán currently leads Borough President Melinda Katz by about 1,100, though the final vote has not been certified.
“People are worried,” said intern Mani Singh. “We don’t know how the DA’s office staffing will fare.”
Singh wondered how the next DA would prosecute certain offenses.
“For example, say a suspect is charged in a non-violent burglary, and released on his own recognizance,” Singh said. “Later he flees the jurisdiction, then he’s caught and extradited back here, as non-violent offender he might still be eligible for release on his own recognizance.”
ADA Association President Todd Greenberg downplayed concerns about radical change and job security. He said attorneys on both sides can unite outside the courtroom.
“People always worry when a new administration takes over,” Greenberg said, “Because regardless of whether it’s Katz or Cabán, the new DA will often bring in their own people, their own staff.”
“But we’re more like a family than just an organization,” he added. “The other day I was fighting Denise Tirino on a murder case. We went at each other tooth and nail. Yet now, here we are, celebrating Judge Brown’s legacy and all that we share.”
Greenberg also recognized the new generation of prosecutors in Queens.
“I see a lot of the youngest ADAs here, and that’s really inspiring,” he said. “Together we form some of the best trial lawyers in New York City.”
Retired Justice Greg Lasak, a candidate for DA who finished third in the Democratic primary, said the future is bright, even if it seems uncertain now.
“What will the next few years bring?” Lasak said. “We don’t know. I really feel for you guys. But things will work out. Never doubt that.”