AABANY’s Manhattan DA Candidates’ Forum held on June 15 and 16 was recently covered in a June 21 Law360 article titled “Manhattan DA Candidates Split Over Hate Crime Strategy.” In the run up to the primary election on June 22, AABANY posed questions to seven Democratic candidates (Tahanie Aboushi, Alvin Bragg, Liz Crotty, Tali Farhadian Weinstein, Diana Florence, Lucy Lang, and Eliza Orlins) and one Republican candidate (Thomas Kenniff) on issues important to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, specifically related to how they would address the surge in anti-Asian violence in New York City. Most of the candidates stated that they would use enhancements to charge perpetrators of hate crimes. In addition, most of the candidates supported creating a hate crimes unit in the DA’s Office, which is one of the proposals offered in AABANY and Paul, Weiss’ report on anti-Asian violence. Only Tahanie Aboushi and Eliza Orlins pledged they would cut the district attorney’s office budget in half. By decreasing the prosecution of low-level offenses, Aboushi and Orlins said the office would be able to focus on more serious crimes, including hate crimes that involve violence. The Law360 article also incorporated Democratic DA Candidate Dan Quart’s stances on the questions posed at the Forum as he was not able to participate due to a prior engagement.
To read the full article, click here. To view the recordings of AABANY’s Manhattan DA Candidates’ Forum, click here for day 1 (Lucy Lang, Alvin Bragg, Tali Farhadian Weinstein, and Tahanie Aboushi) and here for day 2 (Diana Florence, Thomas Kenniff, Eliza Orlins, and Liz Crotty).
On April 19, 2021, San Jose Inside published an op-ed titled “Santa Clara County Deserves a New District Attorney” by Daniel M. Chung, formerly with the Bronx DA’s office and was an AABANY member. Daniel currently works as a Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney and in the op-ed, he voices the need for a new District Attorney in Santa Clara County who will celebrate the diversity of the community and speak out against injustice.
As an Asian-American prosecutor in Santa Clara County, Daniel felt that he needed to speak out against anti-Asian violence at a time when many local community leaders stayed silent. He published an op-ed in the Mercury News on February 14, 2021, about the recent surge of anti-Asian violence and the need for balanced criminal justice reforms to protect victims and communities. In response to the publication, Daniel’s boss, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, had Daniel appear at a hearing to answer allegations that he had used his official title without authorization, and reassigned him twice in two days with no customary notice or explanation. Daniel attributes DA Rosen’s actions to his boss’ political aspirations and explains that rather than demonstrating commitment to racial justice and the Asian community in Santa Clara County, DA Rosen chose to stay silent. Daniel stresses the importance of a new District Attorney in Santa Clara County:
“Santa Clara County deserves a DA who will be a leader—not a bandwagoner—in speaking out against injustice to Asian Americans and others. A DA who will demand unwavering loyalty to the law and justice and not to himself. A DA who will prioritize public safety and not promote a culture of fear and retaliation. A DA who will respect free speech, say what he means, and mean what he says. Santa Clara County deserves a DA who will celebrate the rich diversity of our community and protect us—not for personal or political gain, but because it is the right thing to do.“
To read the full op-ed, click here.
Statement from Brooklyn Chief Assistant District Attorney Eric Gonzalez
“It is with deep regret and tremendous sadness that I announce the passing of DA Ken Thompson. He was a
giant among those seeking to reform the criminal justice system and we are all privileged to have worked
under his transformative leadership these past three years.
In that short period, he transformed the Office into a model urban prosecutor’s office, with a mandate to do
justice and treat everyone and every case fairly and with utmost integrity. Among his many initiatives, he
created a model for correcting wrongful convictions, instituted a marijuana policy that would later be
replicated citywide and started a summons forgiveness program that would also be instituted in several other
jurisdictions. Our sincere prayers are with his wife, children and loved ones. May he rest in peace, knowing
that he has made Brooklyn and New York City a better place.
The executive team and I are committed to leading the Office and carrying out DA Thompson’s vision and
AABANY extends our deepest condolences to Ken Thompson’s family and friends. We are saddened by the loss of Kings County District Attorney Ken Thompson. He was a great man who touched many lives and he will be missed.
Vinoo Varghese in NYLJ: Lawyer Claims D.A. Subpoena Could Impact Defense Counsel
Update from Vinoo Varghese on further developments in connection with his being subpoenaed recently as a defense attorney in a pending matter: The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NYSACDL) and the Legal Aid Society (LAS), as amicus curiae, are seeking a declaratory judgment that the act of subpoenaing a defense attorney during the pendency of an open case is per se wrong. These groups have opposed the sealing of this matter on First Amendment grounds.
Here is a quote from the article and LAS amicus brief:
“It is hard to imagine a grand jury summons with a more chilling effect on the unique constitutional role of defense counsel and on every attorney who performs it,” wrote Steven Wasserman, a staff attorney at Legal Aid.
Click on the link in the title to read the full article.
On Tuesday, April 23, 2013, the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee organized a committee meeting and was honored to have as its featured speaker Rosemary Yu, Co-Director of the Immigrant Affairs Program at the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Ms. Yu spoke about the important work of the Immigrant Affairs Program, which was established in 2007 to investigate and prosecute fraud committed against immigrants, and to educate the public about immigration fraud and related issues through fraud prevention workshops and seminars. Ms. Yu also discussed ways that attorneys can help identify and prevent immigration fraud – an especially relevant and timely topic in light of impending comprehensive immigration reform, which is expected to pass later this year.
If you are interested in learning more about the Immigrant Affairs Program of the New York County DA’s Office or want to get more information about the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee, contact co-chairs Rio Guerrero and Tsui Yee at firstname.lastname@example.org.