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It is with great sadness that we announce of the death of Martin B. Adelman, former NYSBA Criminal Justice Section Chair from 1991 to 1993. Marty passed away May 10th. He was past member of the Executive Committee and very devoted to the work of the Section. He was a brilliant lawyer, who passionately represented the interests of his clients, while always adhering to the highest standards of ethics. Always a gentleman, he epitomized the best of our practice and it was our privilege to have known him.

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Annual Meeting On-Demand

Please click the attached links for the latest important Criminal Justice Section resources:

The Chair’s Message by Robert J. Masters
Message from the Editor
New changes to CPL Article 245 (Discovery) by Hon. Barry Kamins
New changes to NYS’s recently revised bail procedures by Leah Nowotarski


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 Amy Jasiewicz
[email protected]
(518) 487-5675

Bob Masters

Robert J. Masters

Robert J. Masters, retired from the Queens County DA’s office, and currently the Special Assistant District Attorney for Rockland County, is Chair of the Criminal Justice Section.

After graduating from St. John’s University and St. John’s University School of Law, Masters worked as a law clerk for various Judges of the Criminal Term of the Supreme Court in both Queens and Kings Counties. Bob became an Assistant District Attorney in Queens County in 1990, and has worked primarily on homicide cases since 1992.


Message from the Chair

I like to read.  I always have.  As an adult, I took comfort from reading during those endless, excruciating hours when a jury deliberated after I had tried a case.  Books proved to be a simple distraction and I remember one from years ago, the title of which is particularly apt now — No Ordinary Time.  Written during the mid ’90s by the popular historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, it described FDR’s last term in office and our nation’s gradual entry and ultimate victory in World War II.  In the most human terms, Goodwin reveals how extraordinary the times were, describing how the White House became a veritable dormitory for advisors and world leaders — indeed, Winston Churchill actually resided there, managing Britain’s war efforts for months at a time.  It was an entertaining read, charmingly depicting a remarkable period of our history.

Not many years after reading that book, the title hearkened back to me.  For September 11, 2001 was our generation’s “Day of Infamy.” It commenced another era during which our nation lived through No Ordinary Time.

I remember well during the hours and days after the shocking attack, all of our routines, lives — our very existences — being upended.  At that time, I worked as a Bureau Chief in the Queens County District Attorney’s Office.  Everything stopped.  The courts screeched to a halt.  All members of the NYPD were unavailable for weeks at a time, reassigned to often gruesome duties.  Feeling rudderless, I asked my boss and friend, the District Attorney, the late Richard A. Brown, what we could do during such unprecedented times.  All he said was, “Bob, what’s most important is that we stay open — every day.  We keep the flag flying in front of the building so people know that their government, their criminal justice system is still here for them.”

Of course, wise man that he was, Judge Brown was right.  Standards and Goals didn’t matter.  What did was the confidence of our community.  That if needed, the System, its players — the government — was there for them.  That it would function and resolve that which could not wait and would quell and temporarily relieve any crisis, until it could more fully, appropriately and fairly be addressed through the sound application of our ordinary legal process.  And, simply staying open worked — just as it did during the aftermath of our nation’s financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.

Well, this too is perhaps more than any other time during my career, No Ordinary Time.  Because of a cruel and invisible threat, our System has been shuttered.  The nation’s economy has been placed in a self-induced coma.  Our courts, offices and Bar facilities operate virtually, if at all — a pale imitation of the thrilling criminal justice ecosystem to which we have all devoted ourselves.

As committed members of the Bar, we have little choice but to follow Judge Brown’s advice — we have to stay open.  We have to make sure that people know that the Criminal Justice System is still there for them and is functioning, even if COVID-19 dictates that for the safety of all — it idles — awaiting the necessary progress and safety measures for us all to “get out of neutral” and resume not only our practices, but our lives.

That is a laudable goal — easy to articulate, but almost impossible to implement in our current world, much less any future version that we might imagine, much less be forced to live.  The challenges we face are too many in number and too great in dimension to list.  But they will not simply disappear as magically as they afflicted us.  It will require the imagination, ingenuity, dedication and resolve of all practitioners to even commence this journey from mere survival to minimal effectiveness.

In my last Message, I decried the noxious partisanship that had overtaken our society, manifesting itself, first in our politics, only to insinuate itself into every facet of our commerce with each other, let alone into our practice.  I expressed my hope that our Section, our practice of the Criminal Law — could be different — that we could find common ground, whether defense practitioners, judges or prosecutors, to implement the procedural changes in our law and still provide fairness, equity and justice to everyone — whether defendant, victim, witness or litigant.  Sadly, events have overtaken my hope and transformed them from aspiration to necessity.  We cannot simply try; we must succeed for the good of everyone.

And where that need will be most tested will be in the inevitable thrust to reopen our courts and awaken from the state of suspended animation that has been forced upon us.  Some proceedings have proved capable of being conducted virtually.  That those matters have been managed is for the good, but the extent to which such solutions can substitute for traditional practice will need to be evaluated and decided.  Practical concerns are many and they pale in comparison to the constitutional issues that will necessarily be implicated.  Basic rights, long observed reflexively, will be considered in the shadow of our adherence to “social distancing.”  A defendant’s right to be present; his right to confront witnesses; her right to physically examine and contest evidence offered against her — all so fundamental, will need to be observed.  But the bounds to which such rights can in any way be tempered to yield to the threats imposed by a global pandemic will need to be considered by our most thoughtful minds.  Practical realities, like ensuring safety for all parties, while prudently protecting the confidentiality that defendants, victims, witnesses, investigators, law enforcement personnel and treatment providers need to effectively participate in our daily rituals of criminal justice will need to be navigated,

And most challenging of all — jurors — how to address the many layers of concern necessary to reintegrate our randomly selected citizens to participate in one of society’s most fundamental and critical functions may present perhaps our greatest challenge.

It is hardly a controversial observation that before COVID-19 shuttered our system, that the January 1st changes to our Bail and Discovery laws had profoundly impacted daily practice.  The novelty of the law predictably occasioned delays in disposing of cases and a paucity of litigation, which led to an increase in inventory of pending matters.  None of these results were surprising while our routines adjusted to the increased requirements imposed by the epic changes in procedure.  Nor is it a controversial notion that ours is “a system of pleas, not a system of trials,” as Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in Laffler v Cooper, 566 U.S. ___ (2012).  Rather, it is a system that requires the parties to engage in extensive plea bargaining — an art in and of itself — that attempts to achieve equitable results for all parties through good faith negotiation.  However, for our “system of pleas” to adequately function, experience has taught that for negotiations to conclude — for agreement to be reached — the immediacy of litigation is the only incentive powerful enough to move those good faith negotiations to finality.  But without a steady pool of jurors — randomly selected to reflect the community — the possibility of immediate trial is illusory — the incentive to conclude the negotiating process rendered a mirage.  The resulting formula — no jurors equals no dispositions; which equals a dangerously bloated inventory of serious matters pending indefinitely; which results in an existential threat to our Criminal Justice System — being crushed under the weight of a backlog for which no relief is available — is cause for deep concern.

That is the challenge which our Section must meet.  The finest minds of our profession, utilizing the centuries of combined experience, working collaboratively with the courts must find a way that the end of our process — jury trials — can again become a reality, so that the rest of our process can be preserved and function adequately.  For without that, our capability to provide victims any measure of justice, or defendants genuine due process and the opportunity to avail themselves of their presumption of innocence and potentially reclaim their good name, will become an unattainable dream, rather than the fundamental goal that our democracy demands.

That is why it is imperative in these coming weeks and months, while we “stay open” and “keep the flag flying in front of the building,” that we work in unison, whether with our local courts or with OCA that we make every effort to provide all of our best guidance and advice to ensure that our future will be more than simply existing, but will be as distinguished as our past.  Our justice system is the envy of all others.  It is our collective responsibility — the call of this honorable profession — as much as our allegiance to any particular client, case or cause, to ensure that we succeed in this challenge during No Ordinary Time.

Online Community

New York Criminal Law Newsletter

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 copying, reselling, duplication, transferring, reproducing, reusing, retaining or reprinting of this Newsletter is strictly prohibited without permission.
© New York State Bar Association. All rights reserved. ISSN 1549-4063 (print)    ISSN 1933-8600 (online)

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.

MCLE credit may also be earned for legal-based writing directed to an attorney audience upon application to the CLE Board. NYSBA Guidelines for Obtaining MCLE Credit for Writing as well as a Publication Credit Application are available.

If you have written an article and would like to have it considered for publication in the New York Criminal Law Newsletter, please send it in electronic document format (pdfs are NOT acceptable), along with biographical information to its Editor:

Jay Shapiro, Esq.
[email protected]

From our Summer 2020 Issue: Changes to the Newly Enacted Discovery Law


NY Criminal Law Newsletter 2021 vol 19 no 1_cover200W

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.)


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 12 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.


The nomination form and deadline for the January 2022 awards will be available this summer.

Martin B. Adelman Memorial Award
The award was created to recognize outstanding efforts to support the Criminal Justice system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Judges, administrators, attorneys or defendants may be nominated.

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.

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

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