Chief Judge DiFiore To Present 2020 Howard A. Levine Awards

By Brendan Kennedy

September 9, 2020

Chief Judge DiFiore To Present 2020 Howard A. Levine Awards


By Brendan Kennedy

Melissa L. Breger, professor of law at Albany Law School, and Randy Hertz, professor of law at New York University School of Law,  are the winners of the Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) announced today.

Merril Sobie, professor of law at Pace University School of Law and a previous award recipient, will receive a special recognition for lifetime achievement.

NYSBA’s Committee on Children in the Law will honor the three professors prior to the Sept. 9 CLE webinar, Science-Infused Decision-Making: The New Reliance On Adolescent Brain Science In Criminal And Juvenile Cases, which starts at 5:30 p.m.

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore will present the awards and deliver opening remarks in a virtual ceremony that begins at 5:00 p.m.

The award is named for retired Court of Appeals Judge Howard A. Levine (Whiteman Osterman & Hanna), the first chair of what was then called the Special Committee on Juvenile Justice. Levine served in a variety of public service positions for over 40 years, including as an associate judge on the Court of Appeals from 1993-2002.

This award recognizes the vital services of lawyers and non-lawyers who have done outstanding work to improve New York’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Award recipients are individuals who have a career history of distinguished and longstanding service in the field of juvenile justice and child welfare.

Breger has focused her career on the rights of children and families, the role of attorneys for children, procedural justice in the courtroom and child sex trafficking. She co-founded the St. John’s University School of Law Child Advocacy Clinic and is the co-author of New York Law of Domestic Violence. 

Hertz spent many years working at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia where he handled criminal trials and appeals and litigated a class action suit challenging conditions in juvenile detention facilities. He serves on the board of directors for several national juvenile justice groups including the Equal Justice Initiative, National Juvenile Defender Center and the Office of the Appellate Defender.

Sobie specializes in family and children’s law, authoring two books, New York Family Court Practice and The Creation of Juvenile Justice: A History of Children’s Law. He co-authored the NYSBA Study of the Legal Representation of Children and drafted the NYSBA Standards and Commentaries for Representing Children and the New York Juvenile Delinquency Code.

NYSBA President Scott M. Karson will give introductory remarks.

Reserve your spot here.

Here is a list of previous distinguished winners of the Howard A. Levine Award:

Matilda Cuomo
Honorary Chair, NYS Council on Children & Families
Co-chair, NYS Citizens Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect
Philip C. Pinksy
First Assistant Counsel to the Majority Leader, NYS Senate

Hon. William B. Hoyt
Chair, NYS Assembly Committee on Children & Families
Subcommittee on Child Abuse
Elizabeth T. Schack
Staff Associate for Juvenile Justice Citizens Committee for Children of N.Y., Inc.

Hon. Mary B. Goodhue
Chair, NYS Senate Committee on Child Care
Robert P. Patterson, Jr.
Former NYSBA President
Hon. Albert Vann
Chair, NYS Assembly Committee on Children & Families

Hon. Sol Wachtler
Chief Judge of the State of New York
Charles Schinitsky
Founder & First Attorney-in-Charge, The Legal Aid Society of New York

Eve Block Brooks
Executive Director, Statewide Youth Advocacy, Inc.
Shirley Mitgang
Former Deputy Counsel, Office of Court Administration

Hon. Kathryn A. McDonald
Administrator for New York City Family Court

Hon. G. Oliver Koppell
Chair, NYS Assembly Judiciary Committee
Sister Mary Paul
Center for Family Life in Sunset Park

Hon. Judith S. Kaye
Chief Judge of the State of New York
Prof. Ellen Schall
Former Commissioner, NYC Dept. of Juvenile Justice

Lenore Gittis

Attorney-in-Charge, The Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Division (1981-1995)
Hon. Helene Weinstein
Chair, NYS Assembly Judiciary Committee

Barbara Blum

President, Foundation for Child Development
Jules Kerness
Legislative Director, New York State Senate Committee on Children & Families

Hon. Anthony V. Cardona

Presiding Justice, App. Div., Third Dept.
Hon. Sondra Miller
Justice, App. Div., Second Dept.

Kay C. Murray

General Counsel, Department of Juvenile Justice, NYC
Lucia B. Whisenand
Solo Practitioner, Syracuse

Michael Corriero

Acting Justice, Supreme Court, First Department
Carol R. Sherman, Esq.
Executive Director, Children’s Law Center, Brooklyn

Nicolette Pach

Justice, Suffolk County Family Court
Hon. Gloria Sosa-Litner
Justice, New York City Family Court
Professor Merril R. Sobie
Pace University School of Law

Patricia Countryman, Esq.
Law Guardian, Schenectady County
James S. Hinman, Esq.
Law Guardian, Monroe County
Jayne Ann McPartlin, Esq.
Law Guardian, Suffolk County
David I. Waldman, Esq.
Law Guardian, Richmond County

Joan T. Byalin

Counsel to Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein
Hon. Edward O. Spain
Associate Justice, Appellate Division, Third Department

2003 Founder’s Award
Hon. Howard A. Levine
(Retired) Associate Judge, New York State Court of Appeals and
Senior Counsel to Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP

Hon. Joan O. Cooney

Supervising Judge of the Family Courts, Ninth Judicial District
Gary S. Solomon, Esq.
Director, Legal Support for the Juvenile Rights Division, The Legal Aid Society

John E. Carter, Jr., Esq.

Director of the Law Guardian Program, Appellate Division, Third Department
Hon. Elizabeth W. Pine
Associate Justice, Appellate Division, Fourth Department

Hon. Eugene F. Pigott, Jr.

New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division Fourth Department
Janet R. Fink, Esq.
Deputy Counsel, New York State Unified Court System

Special Recognition Award

William J. Carroll, Esq.
(Retired) Executive Director, New York State Bar Association

Hon. Joseph M. Lauria

Administrative Judge
New York City Family Court
Hon. Sharon S. Townsend
Administrative Judge
Eighth Judicial District

Sarah H. Ramsey, Esq.

Professor of Law, Syracuse University College of Law
Director of the Family Law and Social Policy Center
Mishi Faruqee
Director, Juvenile Justice Project
Correctional Association New York

Margaret A. Burt, Esq. 

Attorney at Law
Professor Jane M. Spinak
Columbia University School of Law

Honorable Judith S. Kaye (Lifetime Achievement Award)

Chief Judge of the State of New York
Kathryn Grant Madigan, Esq. (Special Recognition Award)
President of the New York State Bar Association

Commissioner Gladys Carrión

New York State Office of Children and Family Services
Karen J. Freedman, Esq.
Executive Director, Lawyers for Children, Inc.

Senator Velmanette Montgomery

New York State Senate – 18th Senate District
George E. Reed, Jr., Esq.
Attorney, White Plains

Hon.  Jonathan Lippman

Chief Judge, New York State Court of Appeals
Stephanie J. Gendell, Esq.
Associate Executive Director, Citizen’s Committee for Children of New York, Inc.

Hon. Judith S. Claire

Chautauqua County Family Court, Mayville, NY
Tamara A. Steckler, Esq.
Attorney-in-Charge, Juvenile Rights Practice, The Legal Aid Society, New York

Harriet R. Weinberger, Esq.

Director of the Attorneys for Children Program, Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department
Glenn R. Metsch-Ampel, Esq.
Deputy Executive Director, Lawyers for Children

Hon. Monica Drinane

Supervising Judge, Bronx County Family Court, City of New York
Hon. Vincent J. Reilly, Jr.
New York State Supreme Court, Fourth Judicial District, Schenectady County

Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson

Administrative Judge, New York City Family Court
Jacquelyn D. Greene, Esq.
Sr. Project Associate, National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice
Former Executive Director of the Governor’s Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice
Special Recognition Award
Hon. Jonathan Lippman

Chief Judge, New York Court of Appeals

James J. LeCain

College Program Director, Brookwood Secure Center
Kathleen R. DeCataldo, Esq. 
Executive Director, New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children

Hon. Karen K. Peters
Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, Albany, NY
Theodor S. Liebmann, Esq.
Professor, Hofstra Law School, Hempstead, NY

Hon. Kathie E. Davidson
Administrative Judge, Ninth Judicial District, White Plains
Betsy R. Ruslander, Esq.
Director, Office of Attorneys for Children, Third Judicial Department, Albany

Hon. Jeanette Ruiz
Administrative Judge, New York City Family Court, New York, NY
Tracy M. Hamilton, Esq.
Director, Office of Attorneys for Children, Fourth Judicial Department, Rochester, NY
Angela O. Burton, Esq. (Special Recognition Award)
Director of Quality Enhancement, Parent Representation, New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services, Albany, NY

Contact: Brendan Kennedy
[email protected]

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