Bronx District Attorney Elect Darcel Clark today announced the members of her transition team, who will counsel her on the best means to achieve her stated vision and objectives for critical reforms and improvements as she assumes office on .
The team, comprised of notable individuals with decades of experience in criminal justice as well as Bronx community leaders, will work over the course of the next month and a half to assist District Attorney-elect Clark in preparing to implement her priorities of greater transparency, accountability and responsiveness throughout the office.
That includes focusing on assessing the current state of the relationship between the office and other stakeholders in the Bronx criminal justice system; identifying top talent to join the office and evaluating current employees in the office; implementing a vertical prosecution system; establishing new internal office controls; defining the current state of affairs between the office and the community; and reviewing existing units and integration of new units, including teams for public integrity and Rikers Island.
“With the campaign now behind us, we are getting to work to make sure that the Bronx always has a District Attorney’s office we can be proud of,” said DA-elect Clark. “I’ve compiled a team that not only understands the inner workings of the District Attorney’s office, but also has a passion for this community and is ready to work to strengthen this office so we can make the Bronx safer for all its residents.”
“We have important work to do to eliminate case backlogs, create time sensitive prosecutions, actively engage the community and bring real reform to Rikers Island,” said added. “This team will give me the expertise and planning skills I need to hit the ground running on day one. The campaign is over and it’s time to get to work.”
The team consists of the following members:
Richard Aborn is the President of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City and a partner with Constantine Cannon. Mr. Aborn advises police departments and criminal justice agencies in the U.S. and Europe on a variety of issues ranging from police integrity, use of force policy, and building more effective relationships between police departments and criminal justice agencies.
Adele Bernhard is a distinguished adjunct professor at New York University Law School where she also directs a Post-Conviction Innocence Clinic. Formerly, she served as a public defender in the South Bronx and also has directed the Criminal Defense Clinic at Pace Law School.
The Hon. Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick is the former Senior Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals. She spent 19 years on New York State’s highest court, and 34 years on the bench. Judge Ciparick was appointed on December 1, 1993 by Governor Mario M. Cuomo. She was re-appointed by Governor Eliot Spitzer in November 2007. Judge Ciparick currently serves as Chair of the Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary.
Catherine Christian is the Co-Director of Legal Training and Chief of the Elder Abuse Unit in Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s Office. Christian also has served as the Co-Director of the Legal Training Unit and as a member of the Office’s Conviction Integrity Committee, and has conducted public corruption investigations as an Assistant Counsel for the New York State Commission of Investigation. Christian is a past President of the New York County Lawyers' Association, where she notably established pro bono programs to assist the elderly.
Mylan Denerstein is a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Prior to joining the Gibson Dunn, Ms. Denerstein served as Counsel to Governor Andrew Cuomo, as an Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice, as Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs for the New York City Fire Department, and as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. Ms. Denerstein serves as a board member of the Vera Institute of Justice.
Sheikh Moussa Drammeh is the Managing Owner of Al Iman Plaza, a Real Estate Investment, founder of Muslim Community Report Newspaper and Tea-Out-Stress Franchise. Mr. Drammeh is the Executive Producer of African News Media and Public Emergency Management Adherence (PEMA) television shows on BronxNet Television. He is also a frequent media commentator for Islamic issues and African Affairs.
Steven Fishner is a former principal in KPMG LLP’s Forensic Advisory Practice, providing investigative and integrity advisory services. He formerly served as New York City’s Criminal Justice Coordinator and the principal criminal justice advisor to Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, and as an Executive and Administrative Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office.
Leroy Frazer serves as Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson’s Chief of Staff. He formerly served for 34 years in the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where he supervised the Office of Legislative Affairs and the Community Affairs Unit. He also served as the Coordinator of the New York State Law Enforcement Council and Legislative Secretary for the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York.
Elizabeth A. Gaynes has been executive director of the Osborne Association for more than 30 years. As Executive Director, Gaynes heads up the lead service provider for the Rikers Island-based ABLE program, among others. Gaynes is a nationally recognized expert on the impact of incarceration and reentry on children and families, and serves as an advisor to the International Association of Chiefs of Police on the model protocol for safeguarding children at the time of a parent’s arrest.
Virginia M. Goggin is the Director of Legal Services at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, providing holistic legal representation to LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors of violence. Prior to AVP, Virginia was a staff attorney at the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG). While at NYLAG, she started the LGBT Law Project serving low-income LGBTQ community members with various legal issues ranging from family law, housing, immigration and wills.
The Hon. Luis Gonzalez is a former Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division First Department. He has served as an Examining Attorney for the New York City Department of Investigation, as general counsel to the national director of the Government of Puerto Rico, and as a Hearing Officer for the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Gonzalez was appointed as a Housing Court Judge for the New York City Civil Court in 1985, and later was elected as a Justice of the Civil Court in Bronx County, and then as a Justice of the Supreme Court in Bronx County, where he served as the Administrative Judge of both the Civil and Criminal Terms. He was later elevated to the Appellate Term, the first Latino to hold that position.
Father Richard Gorman has served the community as a priest and as a member of Bronx Community Board 12 for over 25 years. Chairman for the past 17 years, he has used his office to fight for district services, seeing community work as akin to spiritual service. In 2002, Gorman went back to law school, graduating from the St. John's University School of Law, and now is a judge in the Archdiocese's Metropolitan Tribunal.
Elsa Marte Hampton is Director of Title VI Compliance with the New York City Transit Authority’s Office of Equal Opportunity and is an adjunct professor at Berkeley College where she teaches law and criminal justice courses. Mrs. Hampton has also served as President and Vice- President of the Dominican Bar Association, Deputy Regional President of the Hispanic National Bar Association-NY Region, and Executive Board Member of the Network of Bar Leaders. During her tenure as President of the Dominican Bar Association, Ms. Hampton re-instituted law clinics whose purpose was to provide legal advice, in Spanish, to the Dominican community.
Joyce Hartsfield is the Executive Director of the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission, focused on issues affecting both employees and litigants of color. Hartsfield is a past President of the Bronx County Bar Association, and an active member of the Black Bar of Bronx County. Joyce started her career with the Legal Aid Society and has been in private practice since 1982.
Peter Harvey is a past Attorney General of New Jersey and a former federal prosecutor. Currently, he is a Partner at Patterson Belknap where he represents corporations and individuals in business disputes throughout the nation. He also conducts internal investigations for senior executives seeking to learn facts about employee misconduct or inappropriate business practices.
Renee C. Hill is an experienced trial attorney concentrating in Criminal Defense.Ms. Hill served as the Acting Justice of the Village of Harriman Court from March, 2008 through March, 2015. In late, 2011, Ms. Hill partnered with Stacey Richman, Esq. to form Richman Hill & Associates, PLLC. She is the past President of The Black Bar Association of Bronx County.
Oscar Holt III is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Law at St. John’s University, and maintains an office in Garden City, New York, for private practice, specializing in criminal defense. Holt is a former member of the New York City Mayor’s Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Martin Horn is a Distinguished Lecturer at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. Horn served simultaneously as Correction Commissioner and Probation Commissioner for the City of New York, and earlier as Secretary of Corrections for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For many years, Horn was also the Executive Director of New York State’s paroling authority.
Daniel E. Karson is the Chairman of Kroll, and has more than 40 years’ experience directing investigations of business crimes. Prior to joining Kroll, Karson was General Counsel and Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Investigation of the City of New York and also worked as an Assistant District Attorney of Bronx County, serving as Chief of Narcotics Investigations.
The Hon. Eileen Koretz is a retired Judge who presided in the New York County Criminal Court and the Midtown Community Court before being designated as Supervising Judge of the New York County Criminal Court. Prior to that, Judge Koretz served as Assistant District Attorney and an Administrative Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the Bronx County District Attorney. Koretz serves as a consultant to the Center for Court Innovation and is currently a Judicial Hearing Officer.
Glenn Lau-Kee is the Immediate Past President of the New York State Bar Association and a partner of Kee & Lau-Kee. He concentrates his practice in real estate and business law. Formerly, he served as president of the Asian American Bar Association of New York and was appointed by former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye to serve on the Commission to Examine Solo and Small Firm Practice, and the Committee to Promote Public Trust and Confidence in the Legal System.
The Hon. Judy Harris Kluger was appointed Executive Director of Sanctuary for Families in January 2014 after serving 25 years as a judge in New York State. Prior to her work at Sanctuary, Judge Kluger served as Chief of Policy and Planning for the New York State court system. Judge Kluger was also responsible for the statewide implementation of the Integrated Domestic Violence Courts, and prior to her appointment to the bench, she headed the Domestic Violence Bureau in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.
Lenore Kramer is a founding member of Kramer & Dunleavy LLP, the first women-owned law firm New York State to focus on women's health and safety issues. Kramer also previously served as the President of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, as President of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, and also as President of the Bronx Bar Association. She currently serves as a Commissioner on the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission on Minorities, and as a member of the New York State Judicial Departmental Screening Panel, 2nd Judicial Department.
Betty Lugo is the President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association and is a founding member of Pacheco & Lugo, PLLC. Pacheco & Lugo, PLLC is the first Hispanic women owned law firm in New York. She conducts trials, hearings, arbitrations, and appeals in complex matters in both State and Federal Courts. She began her legal career as the first Hispanic woman to work as an Assistant District Attorney in the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.
Justine "Tina" Luongo is the Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Practice of The Legal Aid Society. Luongo has been integrally involved in the development of numerous training programs at the Society, including the Criminal Defense Project, Felony Training in New York County, New Attorney and Department of Probation trainings on LGBTQ cultural competency and a host of other client centered practice methods.
Teresa Mason is a partner with Bahn Multer LLP. Ms. Mason previously served as Vice President of Health Policy for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Inc, as Chief of Staff to Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, as Vice President for Systems Application and Technologies, Inc as Executive Vice President for MBNA America Bank, a Sheriff for the City of New York, as Assistant Deputy Commissioner for NYS Department of Taxation, and as an Assistant District Attorney for Bronx County.
Wayne S. McKenzie is General Counsel for the NYC Department of Probation (DOP). He is also actively involved in key reform efforts and special projects in DOP’s Adult and Juvenile Operations. Prior to joining DOP, Wayne was the founding Director of the Prosecution and Racial Justice Program at the Vera Institute of Justice. Before joining Vera, he was a prosecutor in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. Mr. McKenzie is a Vice-President-At-Large on the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section Council, which is the governing body of the CJS. He is an active participant in community outreach programs and has a special interest in criminal justice reform and public safety, and in programs that focus on youth.
Marvin Ray Raskin is the Chairman of the Criminal Courts Committee of the Bronx County Bar Association. Raskin has been a preeminent member of the Bronx County Bar Association for more than 35 years, and was elected president in 1994. He began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in the office of Bronx District Attorney Burton B. Roberts. Since 1977, Raskin has been an active trial practitioner in New York City and the surrounding counties.
Bishop Antonio Rosario is the CEO of the Bronx Clergy Task Force from the Bronx Borough President’s Office of Faith Based Initiatives, and also is a member of the Mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council. Bishop Rosario has spent 51 years bringing unity to our communities, boroughs and state; bringing denominational unity to develop programs for jobs.
The Reverend Malobe Sampson of the Thessalonia Worship Center in the Bronx, has worked in ministry for over twenty years and has developed a specialty in Outreach, Missions and Men’s Ministry. Rev. Sampson is the Founder and President of the African Initiative Mission Foundation aka AIM Foundation, which aims to alleviate poverty.
Barry Scheck is the co-founder of The Innocence Project at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Scheck is also a Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and also is a past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Prior to becoming a law professor and entering private practice, Scheck was a staff attorney with The Legal Aid Society in the Bronx.
Corey Sokoler has been a criminal private practitioner for 27 years. He is currently the 2nd Vice President of the Bronx County Bar Association. Mr. Sokoler started his career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx.
Lisa Sorin is the Executive Director of Westchester Square Business Improvement District. Sorin is also the Founder of LAS Consulting Services, Inc., which provided marketing, public relations and event planning services for nonprofit and corporate entities. She served as the first woman President of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce and remains on their executive board.
Robin Steinberg is the founder of The Bronx Defenders, where she developed holistic defense – a client-centered model of public defense that uses interdisciplinary teams of advocates to address both the underlying causes and collateral consequences of criminal justice involvement. She has taught trial skills at various law schools, and is currently a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School, where she teaches a seminar on holistic defense.
Jean Walsh has been an attorney for over 34 years working in both the public and private sectors. Since 2013, Walsh has been a Deputy Superintendent of Banks for the New York State Department of Financial Services. Walsh’s legal career began in 1981 at the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, where she served as an Assistant District Attorney for 13 years. She later became an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York.
Jonathan Washburn is the Senior Vice President and has served as global head of risk management for Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. a global publisher, developer and distributor of interactive entertainment software. Mr. Washburn previously served as the Chief of the Proceeds of Crime Unit in the Office of Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau. Mr. Washburn also served as the District Attorney’s lead investigator into the role of New York financial institutions in the collapse of Enron, which led to one of the largest settlements in our State’s history.
Hon. Betty Weinberg Ellerin is senior counsel in the firm’s Litigation & Trial Practice Group in the New York office. Prior to joining Alston & Bird, Justice Weinberg Ellerin served more than 20 years as an Appellate Division justice. She was the first woman appointed as Deputy Chief Administrative Judge of the State of New York for the New York City Courts, and the only woman appointed Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division First Department.