The bureaus, units and divisions of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office specialize in various areas of law and crime. Each bureau includes attorneys, investigators and paralegals that gather evidence, analyze information and prepare as well as present cases for prosecution. Equally important are the many complementary bureaus that support the agency's objectives in law enforcement, community development and the improvement of quality of life for Brooklyn residents.
Alternative sentencing is a court ordered judgment other than incarceration and the Alternative Sentencing Bureau was created to facilitate the "alternative" sentencing for qualifying offenders. Several alternative sentencing programs operate under the direction and supervision of the Bureau to help Brooklyn communities as well as offer defendants who make a serious commitment to turn their life around the opportunity to do so.
The Appeals Bureau is responsible for litigation of the Office’s cases after conviction. That litigation includes responding to appeals by defendants to the Appellate Division, which is New York’s intermediate appellate court, and to the New York Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court. The Appeals Bureau also responds to defendants’ habeas corpus petitions in federal district court and litigates appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In addition, the Appeals Bureau prosecutes appeals by the District Attorney from adverse rulings by trial judges.
ASU is a unit within the District Attorney's office that administers community service sentences as well as sentences to the Alcohol Abuse, Treatment Readiness and Reckless Driving Programs. Defendants with any of these conditions of sentence are required to report to our office on the second floor of criminal court for a site assignment. During their sentence, compliance with the conditions of sentence (e.g. performance of community service or attendance at the open AA meetings) is monitored by ASU. If the defendant does not comply, ASU prepares violation papers for the court, the case is scheduled and the judge determines the consequences of non-compliance. Our staff develops community service sites and makes periodic visits to ensure that they continue to be appropriate.
Baby Safe Haven was created by the District Attorney to protect the health and safety of newborns who are at risk of being abandoned and killed. Mothers of unwanted infants are given the opportunity to leave the baby at a participating hospital or fire house with anonymity, protecting the child’s life while safeguarding the mother’s privacy. Mothers of unharmed infants entrusted to Baby Safe Haven will not be prosecuted. This program provides a safe alternative for troubled women in a desperate situation. Baby Safe Haven safeguards the lives of children.
To enhance the A.W.A.R.E. initiative the agency has a cell phone program, with equipment donated by AT&T, Bell Atlantic and private citizens. Victims of domestic violence are provided with cellular telephones free of charge that are programmed to call 911 if there is an emergency.
The Civil Rights and Police Integrity Bureau investigates and prosecutes hate crimes (e.g., assault, harassment, racist graffiti and other property damage) motivated by a victim's race, religion, ethnicity, national origin or sexual orientation, including those committed against undocumented immigrants. This bureau also investigates and prosecutes crimes committed by members of the law enforcement community.
The District Attorney implemented this program after being inspired by the success of the "Boston Plan" which reduced the number of firearm homicides in Boston, Massachusetts. ComALERT is an initiative that focuses on areas of Brooklyn that are experiencing increases in crime and assists individuals on parole or probation reenter their community. The District Attorney's Office forms partnerships with community-based organizations that specialize in job training and placement, education and substance abuse. Collectively, these organizations along with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies provide their respective area of expertise.
Community Relations serves as a liaison to the diverse residents and communities of Brooklyn. Under its guidance, several programs such as ComALERT and F-Tap are managed. The Bureau also has Community Specialists who are assigned to specific areas and neighborhoods of Brooklyn.
The Bureau investigates and prosecutes crimes committed by public servants and police officers.
The Crime Prevention Division was founded on the District Attorney’s philosophy that in addition to tough prosecution there has to be a steadfast commitment to crime prevention and intervention. The School Advocacy Bureau, the Truancy Bureau and the Legal Lives Bureau all operate within this division. The Division continues to explore, develop and implement other programs consistent with the District Attorney’s emphasis on prevention and intervention.
TThe Crimes Against Children Bureau was created by District Attorney Charles J. Hynes in 1997 in recognition that child victims of violent crimes are a vulnerable population with unique needs that must be addressed with great care. The mission of the Crimes Against Children Bureau is to investigate and prosecute cases of child abuse. The Bureau’s focus is on cases that involve the sexual abuse of children under the age of eleven, the physical abuse of children under the age of eleven where the perpetrator is a parent or guardian, as well as child homicides. The philosophy of the Bureau is twofold: to vigorously prosecute these serious cases and to protect the child victim from further traumatization within the criminal justice system. The Crimes Against Children Bureau works in close partnership with the Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center, a multi-disciplinary partnership which includes representatives of the Administration for Children Services, the New York City Police Department and Safe Horizon. Child victims are interviewed by experienced professionals from each discipline- prosecution, social services, law enforcement and mental health – all of whom are specifically trained to work with the needs of young children.
The Crimes Against Children Bureau also works closely to help educate the community about the dynamics of child abuse and to address the concerns of parents, educators, and community leaders. The Bureau is closely connected to programs that help heal the child victim as well as those that help prevent abuse before it occurs. Through close collaboration with the child protective and mental health disciplines, the Crimes Against Children Bureau is dedicated to helping child victims receive true justice and healing in the aftermath of abuse.
COMMUNITY AND PROSECUTORS RESPONDING TO CHILD ABUSE
District Attorney, Charles J. Hynes, has created a new initiative in response to child abuse: Community and Prosecutors Responding to Child Abuse (C.P.R.). C.P.R. provides members of the clergy, community leaders and the community at large with information and assistance to help prevent child abuse and neglect. Through awareness and education we are cultivating a community response to the epidemic of child abuse and neglect in Brooklyn. This grassroots approach will safeguard the lives of children, our most valuable and precious resource, at the time in their lives when they are most vulnerable and in need of our intervention to protect them.
The DA's Action Center is another point of contact with the residents of Brooklyn. Each month the Bureau receives and responds to hundreds of inquiries, including complaints of harassment, bad checks, custodial disputes, drug activity, child abuse, landlord/tenant matters and others. Once the complaint is reviewed, it is then forwarded to the appropriate bureau for further investigation.
JOSEPH J. PONZI
The District Attorney has in his employ 83 Detective Investigators who provide a wide range of law enforcement functions directly for his office. These sworn Police Officers operate in two distinct Divisions: Trials and Investigations, and are responsible for the security of the entire office. Detective Investigators conduct long- and short-term investigations in conjunction with the many specialized Bureaus throughout the office and perform a variety of post Indictment case-enhancement functions.
AWARE (Abused Women’s Active Response Emergency)
In a collaborative effort with ADT Security Services, Victim Services and the New York City Police Department, complainants in domestic violence cases receive an emergency necklace pendant and an electronic security system. Victims who feel in danger, may press either the pendant or the emergency button on the security system panel, which will send a silent alarm to ADT’s customer monitor center. An ADT dispatcher will then call 911 police emergency, which initiates a high priority response.
District Attorney Charles J. Hynes is currently spearheading the development of a community-based, residential alternative-to-prison program for defendant mothers and their children known as the Regina Drew House.
The Domestic Violence Bureau is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all crimes related to domestic violence including child and spousal abuse, stalking and sexual assault. The Bureau administers the AWARE and Cell Phone Program, and has a staff of trained social workers and counselors to provide support services to all victims in felony cases, and to victims in selected misdemeanor cases. The Bureau also has a special unit devoted to elder abuse.
DTAP is the first prosecution-operated substance abuse program for prison-bound, non-violent drug offenders. As opposed to prison, offenders who meet eligibility requirements spend two years in a residential drug treatment program. When the defendant successfully completes the residential program, his or her plea is withdrawn and the underlying case is dismissed. If the defendant fails, he or she is returned by our warrant team to face sentencing on the original plea of guilt.
The Early Case Assessment Bureau (ECAB) screens all arrests that take place in Brooklyn. Once screening is completed, the decision is made to either prosecute the case or decline prosecution. If the case is prosecuted, early case assessment determines which bureau within the agency the case will be directed to.
Arlene M. Markarian,
Elder Abuse Unit Coordinator
The Elder Abuse Unit of the Domestic Violence Bureau handles all cases of spousal/intimate partner abuse and parental abuse [including parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc] involving victims age 60 years or older. The Elder Abuse Unit handles cases of physical abuse. Physical abuse includes not only assaults, but also threats of violence. Neglect is another form of abuse handled by the Unit.
Unit Chief: Jacqueline Linares
The Environmental Crimes Unit is a part of the Rackets Division that is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed against our natural resources and which pose a significant threat of harm to the public, including but not limited to: the illegal storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous wastes; the unauthorized discharge of pollutants into the air, soil, and waters of the State; frauds involving pesticide applicator licenses; and the illegal commercialization of wildlife.
Edward J. Carroll
In response to growing gang activity, this bureau was created to place special emphasis on the investigation and prosecution of known street gang members who have committed serious crimes, including firearm sales and possession, narcotic sales, and other violent crimes. In addition, the bureau does gang awareness training, working with community groups and educational agencies throughout Kings County.
All homicides that take place in Brooklyn are first presented to the Homicide Bureau for review. The Bureau serves as a screening mechanism to determine which bureau within the agency will investigate, manage and if necessary, try a homicide case. In some instances the Homicide Bureau will try a case jointly with another Bureau (e.g., Domestic Violence or Crimes Against Children Bureaus). The Bureau also serves as legal advisor to police, and is responsible for trying the most complex and high profile homicide cases.
College and law school internships are offered at the D.A.'s Office.
Angelo Morelli, Deputy District Attorney
The Investigations Bureau consists of the following units: Riding Program, Assault on Police Officers Program, Assault on Transit Workers Program, Extraditions Unit, DA’s Action Center, Technical Services and Graphics Unit.
The Bureau investigates and enhances prosecutions of violent and high profile crimes committed against the general public. The Bureau also prosecutes violent assaults committed against police officers, transit workers and other city employees in the course of performing their duties. In addition, the Bureau assists other states to locate witnesses who reside in Brooklyn as well as in the transfer of defendants to and from jurisdictions outside the State of New York. The DA’s Action Center consists of a civilian complaint intake center which reviews community complaints.
The Juvenile Crimes Bureau prosecutes juveniles under the age of 16 in Family Court. Typically, these juveniles were originally charged as adults in Criminal Court, but their cases were transferred to the Family Court because prosecution as a juvenile was considered more appropriate.
Since 1990 the Legal Lives Bureau has brought the criminal justice system to Brooklyn’s elementary classrooms to teach fifth grade Brooklyn students about the law and its role in their lives. The structured curriculum reaches more than 10,000 students and is considered a mandatory career component of attorneys with the office.
The Bureau investigates and prosecutes economic fraud, such as counterfeit criminal activity and insurance fraud, as well as serious arson cases.
Chief Narcotics Division
The Major Narcotics Investigation Bureau investigates and prosecutes individuals and organizations involved in the trafficking of large quantities of drugs in Brooklyn. The bureau develops long-term investigations into suspected criminal narcotics organizations and investigates organized drug activity in specific communities. Assistant District Attorneys work closely with the New York City Police Department, federal agencies, Detective Investigators assigned to this office, as well as community groups and religious and business leaders, to combat drug distribution and related violence in the borough.
The Medical/Legal Unit is available to work with every bureau in all phases of prosecution. The unit deciphers, evaluates and explains the medical evidence as it pertains to the individual case. Diagrams for trial and advice on medical/legal issues are provided. The unit also acts as liaison between the medical community and the District Attorney's Office. The unit chief is an assistant district attorney and a registered nurse.
This bureau initiates forfeiture proceedings that result in the seizure of illegal proceeds and criminal instrumentalities – such as cash, bank accounts, homes and vehicles – from criminals who engage in and profit from illegal activities. The bureau also investigates and prosecutes individuals and corporations who fail to pay State and City taxes, imposing criminal liability and forcing them to make restitution to the taxing authorities. The bureau’s “narcotics eviction” program evicts tenants who use their apartments to manufacture, store and/or sell drugs.
The Neighborhood Office is an extension of the District Attorney office’s Citizen Action Center. The Citizen Action Center meets with over 100 visitors per month in addition to fielding over 1,000 phone calls, e-mails and letters from residents with a diverse array of problems.
This bureau investigates and prosecutes members and associates of organized crime, who are involved in criminal activity including murder, extortion, loan sharking, illegal sports betting and automobile theft. In order to deprive criminal groups involved in these activities of illegal proceeds, the bureau often prosecutes defendants under the state's Organized Crime Control Act (O.C.C.A), which authorizes forfeiture actions to recover illegally gained money and property.
Partners in Prosecution is an externship program for associates from some of New York City’s leading law firms. The associates spend five to six months at the District Attorney’s office and during that time try several misdemeanor or felony cases. The program was founded in 2003 and now has nine law firms participating in it.
For more information, contact Executive A.D.A. Virginia Modest at 718-250-3480, or E-mail her at email@example.com.
The Peoples Law School is a legal education initiative for adults. It features discussions led by Assistant District Attorneys and other professionals with expertise on various legal subjects. Among the legal topics covered are the Criminal Justice System, Victim and Witness Rights, Bias Crimes and Immigrants' Rights, Parents and Children's Responsibilities, Juvenile and Family Court and "Megan's Law."
Kevin Richardson in charge
This bureau investigates and prosecutes crimes committed by elected officials, judges and politicians. This includes misconduct in the elective process.
Although investigating and prosecuting crime is the primary responsibility of the KCDAO, the District Attorney is committed to his philosophy of intervention, prevention, rehabilitation and community outreach. Under District Attorney Hynes' leadership, several programs and initiatives have been created to enhance the agency's objectives in law enforcement as well as assist victims and in some instances provide alternatives for defendants.
The Property Release Unit is responsible for releasing both the victim's and the defendant's property held as evidence by the Police Department.
The Public Assistance Crimes Unit or “PAC” Unit was recently borne from the City’s commitment to cracking down on Welfare, Medicaid, Food Stamp and other related frauds, which divert funds from the disadvantaged. Additionally, the PAC Unit jointly investigates, apprehends and prosecutes individuals engaged in Medicaid-related black market Prescription Medication trafficking.
The PAC Unit ADA’s and KCDA Detective Investigators along with members of the NYC Department of Investigation, NYC Bureau of Frauds, NYC Police Department, NYS Department of Labor, NYS Bureau of Controlled Substances, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture jointly investigate and participate in the prosecution of individuals and/or organizations involved in these criminal activities.
Public Information serves as a point of contact and information to the general public and the news media regarding criminal cases, programs and initiatives. The Bureau has a Director, aDeputy Director and several Communications Specialists who manage the daily operations as well as press relations, special projects, conferences and community events.
Michael F. Vecchione, Chief
The Rackets Division consists of multiple bureaus that share resources and information in order to successfully investigate and prosecute serious and complex crimes in the areas of organized crime, criminal misconduct by public officials and police officers, gang-related activity, major frauds, arson, narcotics and tax revenue crimes.
The bureaus in the Rackets Division are: Civil Rights and Police Integrity Bureau, Major Frauds and Arson Bureau, Money Laundering and Revenue Crimes Bureau, Organized Crime Bureau and Political Corruption Investigation Bureau.
Richard Farrell in charge
This Unit was started in March 2009, with the assistance of a federal grant. It investigates and prosecutes crimes involving various real estate frauds, including deed fraud, mortgage fraud, and foreclosure rescue scams.
Bureau Chief: Gerianne Abriano
The Red Hook Community Justice Center is a community court, which was created to address the unique social and judicial needs of the neighborhood. The Court is a collaborative effort including the KCDAO, the Center for Court Innovation, and OCA. The RHCJC prosecutes 4,000 misdemeanors annually. As a problem-solving court, we seek to resolve our cases in ways that recompense the community, address the needs of the victim and sometimes effectively change the defendant's behavior. Some cases are adjudicated in a traditional prosecutorial manner and traditional sentencing is employed, but most cases result in sentences that incorporate one or more of the myriad programs and/or services available to us. Sentences frequently include intensive drug or alcohol treatment, mediation, batterer's programs, anger management classes, GED classes, youth groups, vehicular programs, "John School" and more. Additionally, the prosecutors are active in the community and they frequently attend community meetings and participate in community events. The RHCJC serves the 72, 76, and 78 precincts.
The School Advocacy Bureau is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed on school property. The Bureau works with school officials, the police, parents, teachers and students to simplify the criminal process for witnesses who have been victimized in an environment where learning should be their primary concern.
The 400,000 seniors who live in Brooklyn represent the largest block of citizens-at-risk in Kings County. In 1991, the Senior Affairs Bureau was created to educate and protect senior citizens against fraud and other criminal acts. The Bureau works closely with the New York City Police Department and other agencies and organizations to protect the elderly.
Rhonnie Jaus, Chief
Sex Crimes and Crimes Against Children
The Sex Crimes and Special Victims Bureau oversees the investigation and prosecution of felony and misdemeanor sexual assault cases, involving victims who are eleven years of age and older. The cases managed by the bureau include serial rapists, teachers who sexually assault students, crimes of incest and police officers who commit sexual assault.
Based on the success of the DTAP model,TADD was created to address the unique needs of mentally ill substance abuser. TADD defendants are identified by the District Attorney's staff and carefully screened by a senior Assistant District Attorney. Once a defendant is examined and considered an appropriate candidate for treatment, a background check is then conducted. Once the defendant is approved, a suitable location for treatment is determined. Depending on the criminal charges (e.g., misdemeanor or felony, criminal record, and psychiatric diagnosis), the defendant enters a facility for treatment specializing in substance abuse and mental illness.
Trauma Troopers II is an intensive mentoring and jobs skills program for eligible youth between the ages of 13 and 17 years of age. The program addresses issues of widespread concern to at risk juveniles, including gangs, violence, drugs, AIDS and pregnancy prevention. Participants meet three times per week for six months at the Bedford Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps. The program provides eight hours of basic training in emergency medical care and procedures through Medic First Aid/CPR, which teaches the same priorities of patient care used by professionals. After completion of basic emergency care, Troopers are integrated into the business and routines of the Ambulance Corps, which includes workshops, lectures and field trips.
Brooklyn is divided into 23 police precincts, each with its own commanders and community precinct councils. To better serve these diverse communities, the District Attorney created five trial zones, each comprising four or five police precincts. Each “Zone” is within a specified geographic area and is distinguishable by a color-coded designation. This approach allows Bureau Chiefs to establish ongoing communications with precinct commanders and community leaders, as well as establishing priorities for reducing criminal activity in specific areas.
The Victim Services Unit assists victims and their families recover from the trauma of violent crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. Among the services offered by the social workers and counselors are: crisis intervention and short-term counseling; information on court procedures and other related issues; financial and medical bill reimbursement; and referrals to outside agencies.
YCP is an intervention program for court involved youth which includes a collaboration between the agency and the Brooklyn faith communities. An eligible youth must be 17 years of age or younger, have no pattern of violent felony offenses, no major psychiatric disturbance or illness, and no addiction to drugs or alcohol.