2009-06-19 / Top Stories

DA Brown Reaches Nearly Two Decades Of Service

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown celebrates his 19th year of service. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown celebrates his 19th year of service. District Attorney Richard A. Brown of Queens County today begins his 19th year as the borough's top law enforcement official. He was sworn into office on June 1, 1991 following his appointment by then Governor Mario M. Cuomo. He was thereafter elected to a full four-year term that November and has been re-elected every four years since.

Brown said, "It has been both a pleasure and a highlight of my almost 50-year career in public service to serve as the District Attorney for Queens County. Over nearly two decades we have developed into one of the most respected offices in the country by focusing on training and innovations that have raised the level of both our professionalism and aggressiveness."

The DA added, "Despite the economic pressures and a caseload on track to reach 80,000 cases this year (up from 72,000 in 2008), we are confident that we will be able to maintain significant reductions in crime that have been seen in Queens Country over the last 18 years."

Brown has continuously been at the forefront of creating innovative programs that enable his staff to zero in on cases and fight for justice more effectively. Among the most successful are the development of a Child Advocacy Center for young victims of sex crimes; a Family Justice Center for victims of domestic violence; the office's Second Chance Program for first-time, non-violent criminal offenders; the STAR (Straight Talk About Risks) Track Program focusing on steering young people in Far Rockaway to stay clear of violence; and a pre-arraignment interrogation program in which defendant statements are videotaped to support filed charges or free the innocent.

District Attorney Brown has also long served as the Chair of the New York Prosecutors Training Institute, which provides continuing legal education to prosecutors across the state and is committed to continuing to raise the level of professionalism among his own prosecutors as well.

In addition, the District Attorney has overseen some of New York's most notorious cases over the years, including last year's Sean Bell police shooting investigation and trial and massacres at a Wendy's in Flushing and a College Point apartment. The District Attorney's office also annually handles more wiretaps than any other office in the country except for Los Angeles and is a leader in long-term investigations into such criminal activity as identity theft, mortgage fraud, credit card fraud, narcotics trafficking, auto theft and organized crime.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, Brown received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hobart College in 1953, graduated from New York University School of Law in June 1956 and was admitted to the Bar by the Appellate Division, Second Department in October 1956.

Prior to becoming a member of the judiciary in September 1973, Judge Brown spent nine years serving in various important legal positions on behalf of the leadership of the New York State Senate and Assembly and at the 1967 New York State Constitutional Convention and four years as New York City's Legislative Representative in Albany where he managed the City's Albany office and supervised its legislative program.

After serving as a Judge of the Criminal Court for less than two years, Judge Brown was appointed as Supervising Judge of the Brooklyn Criminal Court and assumed full administrative responsibility for the operation of that court and supervision of all judicial and non-judicial personnel. In January 1976, Brown was designated as an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

In November 1977, Judge Brown was elected a Justice of the Supreme Court in Queens County. At the end of the following year he returned to Albany as Counsel to Governor Hugh L. Carey where he served as the Governor's chief legal advisor. On March 3, 1981, Judge Brown returned to the Supreme Court and the following year was designated by Governor Carey as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department. He was thereafter twice re-designated as a member of the Appellate Division by Governor Mario M. Cuomo.

On June 1, 1991, Brown left the Appellate Division to accept Governor Cuomo's appointment as the District Attorney of Queens County. He was elected to a full four-year term as District Attorney in the general election held in November 1991 and was re-elected at the 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007 general election. Under Brown's leadership, the Queens County District Attorney's Office has attained an extraordinary reputation as one of the finest prosecutors' offices in the State.

Judge Brown is a past President of the New York State District Attorneys Association and a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the Queens County Bar Association, among others.

Brown and his wife, Rhoda, have three children and two grandchildren.

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