January 27, 2016: New York State Bar Association Honors Eight for Distinguished Service in Criminal Justice

By Communications Department

January 27, 2016

January 27, 2016: New York State Bar Association Honors Eight for Distinguished Service in Criminal Justice


By Communications Department

The New York State Bar Association has recognized Court of Appeals Judge Eugene F. Pigott, Jr., New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton and six attorneys for their outstanding contributions to the criminal justice community in 2015.

Four of the award winners were honored by the Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section January 27 during the Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in New York City. The remainder will be honored at the section’s May meeting.

“The Criminal Justice Section of the New York State Bar Association is proud to recognize those who have dedicated their careers to and shown exemplary work in the criminal justice community,” said Sherry Levin Wallach of Mt. Kisco (Wallach and Rendo) chair of the Criminal

Justice Section. “It is with great appreciation and respect that we recognize the accomplishments, dedication and careers of this year’s honorees.”

Award winners honored at the Annual Meeting include:

Benjamin Ostrer, Chester, N.Y.

Charles F. Crimi Memorial Award

Benjamin Ostrer serves as attorney for the town of Chester and the villages of Harriman and Monroe and is also a director of the Legal Aid Society of Orange County. His pro bono service has resulted in multiple successful verdicts and dispositions on behalf of clients charged with serious crimes.

Judge Eugene F. Pigott, Jr., Grand Island, N.Y.

The Vincent E. Doyle, Jr. Award for Outstanding Judicial Contribution in the Criminal Justice System

Judge Eugene F. Pigott, Jr. is an associate justice of the Court of Appeals. He was nominated by Governor Pataki to the Court of Appeals in 2006 and subsequently confirmed by the New York State Senate.

William Bratton, New York City Police Commissioner

Outstanding Police Contribution in the Criminal Justice System

William J. Bratton is the 42nd police commissioner of New York City, where he has overseen two years of declining crime. He implemented a neighborhood policing program and has worked to close the gap between the NYPD and the communities it serves.

Kathleen B. Hogan, Glens Falls, N.Y. Outstanding Prosecutor

Kathleen B. Hogan has been the Warren County District Attorney since 2001 and is currently serving her fourth term. Hogan has tried a number of high-profile cases, created a child advocacy center and helped implement the Warren County Treatment Court.

Award winners who will be honored in May include:

Barbara Davies, Buffalo

Outstanding Appellate Practitioner Award

Barbara Davies was formerly supervisor of the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, where she began in

1987. She recently stepped down to focus on her own caseload, which included People v Middlebrooks, which was decided by the Court of Appeals in June, 2015 and led to the creation of new legislation for youthful offenders.

Peter Gerstenzang, Albany

Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Criminal Law Education

Peter Gerstenzang is the senior partner in the Albany law firm of Gerstenzang, O’Hern, Sills & Gerstenzang. He is a regular lecturer for the State Bar and his book, “Handling the DWI Case in New York,” is considered a standard reference for the defense of DWI cases.

Judy Clarke, San Diego, Calif.

David S. Michaels Memorial Award

Judy Clarke has represented defendants in a number of high-profile capital cases, including Susan Smith in Union, South Carolina; Theodore Kaczynski, charged as the “Unabomber;” Eric Robert Rudolph, charged with an abortion clinic bombing in Birmingham, Ala.; Jared Loughner, charged in the January 2011 shootings in Tucson, Ariz.; and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, charged in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Cynthia Conti-Cook, New York City

The Michele S. Maxian Award for Outstanding Public Defense Practitioner

Cynthia Conti-Cook is a staff attorney at New York City’s Legal Aid Society, Special Litigation

Unit of the Criminal Defense Practice, where she oversees the Cop Accountability Project and

Database. She filed a petition, which was granted, demanding that the Civilian Complaint Review Board disclose the number of substantiated community complaints, along with any resulting discipline, for Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the officer whose chokehold killed Eric Garner. The 74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.

Contact: Christina Couto

Senior Media Writer

[email protected]


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