The purpose of this Section shall be to anticipate, recognize and address such issues of crime, criminology, criminal procedure, correction and the administration of criminal justice as properly come before or should come before the New York State Bar Association.

Welcome to the New York State Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section web site. Through our Section members have the opportunity to meet and network with other attorneys and judges involved in many aspects of the criminal justice system, as well as have access to many great benefits specific to our area of practice. The Section also helps improve the criminal justice system by providing a credible voice on pending criminal justice legislation and helping to develop NYSBA policy on criminal justice issues.

The Benefits of Criminal Justice Section Membership Include:

  • The Section’s newsletter, New York Criminal Law Newsletter features updates on Section activities, recent cases and articles about current issues.
  • Educational programs that examine today’s vital legal developments.
  • Networking events to meet criminal justice attorneys from across the state.
  • Professional growth opportunities by joining a Committee.  The Section has 14 substantive committees that provide you the opportunity to research issues and influence the laws that can affect your practice, and the criminal justice system. Section members can request to join as many committees as they like, for free.
  • Access to the Criminal Justice Section’s  Online Community, where members post queries for guidance and referrals.
  • Discounts on NYSBA CLE programs sponsored by the Criminal Justice Section. Section dues are $35 a year (NYSBA membership required) for attorneys, and FREE for law school students. Join online, or call 1-8800-582-2452.

Past Criminal Justice Section Chairs

1981-1983: Andrew M. Schnier
1983-1985: Vincent E. Doyle, Jr.
1985-1987: Hon. Renee A. White
1987-1989: Joseph Jaffe
1989-1991: Terrence M. Connors
1991-1993: Martin B. Adelman
1993-1995: Paul J. Cambria
1995-1997: Robert W. Vinal
1997-1999: Susan B. Lindenauer
1999-2001: Vincent E. Doyle, III
2001-2003: Thomas F. Liotti
2003-2005: Michael T. Kelly
2005-2007: Roger B. Adler
2007-2009: Jean T. Walsh
2009-2011: James P. Subjack
2011-2013: Marvin E. Schechter
2013-2015: Hon. Mark R. Dwyer
2015-2017: Sherry Levin Wallach
2017-2019: Tucker C. Stanclift
2019-2021: Robert J. Masters

Contact the Criminal Justice Section Liaison

To learn more about this Section, please contact Kate Tortora
[email protected]
(518) 487-5682

Please do not contact the Section liaison with a request for legal advice or an attorney referral. You can instead visit our ‘Public Resources’ or ‘Lawyer Referral Service’ page for this type of request.

Leah Nowotarski

Leah Rene Nowotarski

Leah Rene Nowotarski is the Public Defender of Wyoming County and Staff Attorney at Attica Legal Aid. In addition to her typical criminal defense duties, she has advocated for defendants at SORA hearings, 730 competency examinations, and sentencing mitigation. As part of her legal aid duties, she specializes in representing clients in post-conviction matters, including arguing administrative appeals of disciplinary hearings, representing clients at parole revocation and rescission hearings, examining denials of parole release, and writing parole release packets. Ms. Nowotarski serves as Chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the New York State Bar Association, as well as the Co-Chair of the Town & Village Justice Courts Committee, Co-Chair of the Corrections Committee, member of the Criminal Justice Section Executive Committee, and member of the House of Delegates. She also serves as Chair of the Committee on Mandated Representation, as well as a member of the Chief Defenders of New York, New York State Defenders Association, Bar Association of Erie County, and former member of Section Bar Leaders. In her various capacities, she has presented on parole, various committee reports, and a report regarding Town & Village Justice Courts.

Online Community

NY Criminal Law Newsletter 2023 vol 21 no 2_WEB

The New York Criminal Law Newsletter  features updates on Section activities, recent cases and articles about current issues. Edited by Jay Shapiro, Esq., the New York Criminal Law Newsletter is published quarterly by the Criminal Justice Section and distributed to Section Members free of charge.

The New York Criminal Law Newsletter is published as a benefit for members of the Criminal Justice Section and is copyrighted by the New York State Bar Association.

The New York Criminal Law Newsletter encourages article submissions on topics of interest to members of the Section. Writing an article for a NYSBA Section publication is a great way to get your name out in the legal community and advertise your knowledge. Our authors are respected state-wide for their legal expertise in such areas as final arguments, the death penalty, sentencing guidelines and reform, and victims’ rights.

Barry Kamins:  A comprehensive review of new legislation impacting criminal justice matters:

Author Guidelines

NYSBA has created comprehensive author guidelines, with information regarding our reprint policy, style guidelines, and obtaining MCLE Author Credits.

Report and Recommendations of the Criminal Justice Section, Approved by the NYSBA House of Delegates on April 14, 2018

A 2017 Report of the NYSBA Criminal Justice Section Committee on Prosecution

The Use of Criminal History Records in College Admissions Reconsidered

Center for Community Alternatives (CCA), Marsha Weissman, Ph.D., Alan Rosenthal, Esq. and Patricia Warth, Esq., Elaine Wolf, Ph.D, Michael Messina-Yauchzy, Ph.D. Read Article

Criminal Justice Section Report “Sealing Records of Conviction Regarding Certain Crimes” adopted by the NYSBA House of Delegates January 27, 2012
Sealing a person’s criminal record requires balancing competing interests. On the one hand, a person with a criminal record has, after a suitable period of lawful living and rehabilitation, an interest in pursuing employment, licensing, housing, education, and other benefits without the stigma of a prior arrest or conviction. Click here to see the full report

Consequences of Conviction: A Reminder of Some Possible Civil Penalties
Honorable Harold Baer, Jr., United States District Court Justice, Southern District of New York has written a booklet regarding “Consequences of Conviction: A Reminder of Some Possible Civil Penalties.” Click here to view the booklet.

New York State Bar Association President Vincent E. Doyle Commends Governor and Lawmakers on DNA Measure
Read the NYSBA press release here (March 2012).

To see the law go to and search for S6733 or Chapter 19 of the Laws of 2012.

Re-Entry and Reintegration: The Road to Public Safety
Report and Recommendations of the Special Committee on Collateral Consequences of Criminal Proceedings, May 2006: Available upon request. (Email Amy Jasiewicz to request a copy.)


Due to a delay in presenting awards during COVID, the award recipients for the 2023 Annual Meeting have been selected. The Section will resume its traditional schedule and solicit award nominations again in the fall of 2023.

For more than 30 years, the NYSBA Criminal Justice Section has presented awards for outstanding service in the criminal justice system. The awards have expanded to include 13 different award categories representing the many different aspects of the criminal justice system. Anyone is welcome to submit a nomination.

Persons who are ineligible for an award:
Previous award winners in a category will not be approved again in the category. A person may be nominated an approved for an award in a different category after 3 years. Check to see if your nominee is listed in the Alphabetical Listing of Past Award Recipients.

See below for lists of previous award recipients grouped by award.


Martin B. Adelman Memorial Award
To honor a lawyer or judge whose remarkable career has contributed to the betterment of the legal profession.

Charles F. Crimi Memorial Award
To recognize the professional career of a defense lawyer in private practice that embodies the highest ideals of the Criminal Justice Section.

David S. Michaels Memorial Award
To recognize courageous efforts in promoting integrity, justice, and fairness in the criminal justice system.

Outstanding Appellate Practitioner
Established in 2003, to recognize outstanding advocacy, protection of due process and the public welfare, and the integrity of the judicial system by defense attorneys and prosecutors.

Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Correctional Services
To acknowledge outstanding contributions in the field of correctional services.

Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Criminal Justice Legislation
To recognize outstanding work in proposing or implementing needed reforms, which specifically includes political action and fundamental research into the operation and effectiveness of the entire criminal justice system.

Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Criminal Law Education
To recognize outstanding work in criminal law education, the promotion of interest in the practice of criminal law, and the provision to students the opportunity to gain practical insight into the operation of the criminal justice system.

Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Public Information
In recognition of a significant effort to acquaint the public and the bar with the operation of the criminal justice system; to alert the public to the problems besetting that system; and to foster dedication to the preservation of liberty through law.

Outstanding Contribution to the Bar and the Community
Special recognition for service to the bar and the community.

Outstanding Police Contribution in the Criminal Justice System
To recognize outstanding efforts to improve the police function within the criminal justice system.

Outstanding Prosecutor
To recognize a prosecutor who has made special contributions to not only the prosecution community, but to the bar at large, and whose professional conduct evidences a true understanding of a public prosecutor’s duty to advance the fair and ethical administration of criminal justice.

The Michele S. Maxian Award for Outstanding Public Defense Practitioner
Recognizes an outstanding public defense practitioner.

The Vincent E. Doyle, Jr. Award for Outstanding Judicial Contribution in the Criminal Justice System
To honor outstanding judicial effort to improve the administration of the criminal justice system.

Program Archive

2022 Law Student Meet And Greet: Criminal Justice, Trial Lawyers, Local & State Government Sections

A Law Student’s Guide to A Career in the Criminal Justice System (September 23, 2021)

Law Student's Guide to Career Criminal Justice System

2014-01-30 @ 13-09-58
Criminal Justice Awards (142 of 149)
2018-05-05 10.31.14-2 f.

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