Honoree: Hon. Charles J. Hynes
District Attorney, Kings County
The Fund for Modern Courts is delighted to recognize the Honorable Charles J. Hynes, who was elected District Attorney of Kings County in 1989 and is currently serving his fifth term, as the 2008 Cyrus R. Vance Tribute honoree. District Attorney Hynes has been an outspoken advocate for judicial selection reform and submitted amicus curiae briefs in federal court in the case of Lopez-Torres v New York State Board of Elections challenging New York’s judicial convention system which nominates candidates for Supreme Court Justice. His concern for maintaining high judicial and public ethical standards are evidenced by his successful prosecutions of two corrupt judges in Brooklyn, as well as the former Brooklyn Democrat Party leader. He continues to support Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye’s efforts to obtain adequate salaries for our state’s dedicated judiciary.
District Attorney Hynes has implemented many innovative programs, which have become models for other prosecutors’ offices around the country, including the development of problem-solving courts and programs designed to divert non-violent defendants and better utilize limited resources to reduce crime by violent offenders. He started one of the first specialized domestic violence bureaus in the country and worked with court administrators to establish one of the first integrated domestic violence court parts in New York State. Along with Mayor Bloomberg, he won a grant to open NYC’s first Family Justice Center where domestic violence victims can receive a host of services, including counseling, social services, civil legal representation and meeting with a prosecutor.
District Attorney Hynes is responsible for the city’s first and largest drug treatment court as well as the state’s first mental health court. In 1990, District Attorney Hynes established the Drug Treatment Alternative-to-Prison (DTAP) in order to rehabilitate non-violent drug offenders so that they could start a new life, free of crime, instead of imprisoning them, which would be twice as costly. In 1999, Mr. Hynes created the ComALERT (Community and Law Enforcement Resources Together) public safety program which supports individuals on probation or parole as they re-enter their Brooklyn communities.