Brooklyn District Attorney

The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, officially the Kings County Attorney's Office, is the district attorney's office for Kings County, coterminous with the Borough of Brooklyn, in New York City. The office is responsible for the prosecution of violations of the laws of New York. (Violations of federal law are prosecuted by the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York). The current district attorney is Eric Gonzalez.

History

In a legislative act of February 12, 1796, New York State was divided into seven districts, each with its own Assistant Attorney General. Kings County was part of the First District, which also included Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, and Westchester counties. (At that time, Queens County included much of present-day Nassau County, and Westchester County included present-day Bronx County.) In 1801, the office of Assistant Attorney General was renamed District Attorney and New York County was added to the First District. Westchester County was separated from the First District in 1813, and New York County was separated in 1815. In 1818, each county in the state became its own separate district.[1]

Until 1822, district attorneys were appointed by the Council of Appointment, and held office "during the Council's pleasure", meaning that there was no defined term. Under the State Constitution of 1821, the district attorney was appointed to a three-year term by the Court of General Sessions, and under the State Constitution of 1846, the office became elective by popular ballot. The governor filled vacancies until a successor was elected, always to a full term, at the next annual election. An acting district attorney was appointed by the Court of General Sessions pending the Governor's action.[1]

Since the Consolidation Charter of New York City in 1898, the terms of the district attorneys in New York City have coincided with the mayor's term, and are for four years. In case of a vacancy, the governor appoints an interim district attorney and can call a special election for the remainder of the term.

List of Kings County District Attorneys

Name Dates in Office Party Notes
Nathaniel Lawrence February 16, 1796 – July 15, 1797 Dem.-Rep.

died[2]

vacant July 15, 1797 – January 16, 1798
Cadwallader D. Colden January 16, 1798 – August 19, 1801 Federalist

[2]

Richard Riker August 19, 1801 – February 13, 1810 Dem.-Rep.

[2]

Cadwallader D. Colden February 13, 1810 – February 19, 1811 Federalist

[2]

Richard Riker February 19, 1811 – March 5, 1813 Dem.-Rep.

[2][3]

Barent Gardenier March 5, 1813 – April 8, 1815 Federalist

[2][3]

Thomas S. Lester April 8, 1815 – March 12, 1819 ?

[2][3]

James B. Clarke March 2, 1819 – April 26, 1830 ?

[3][4]

Nathan B. Morse April 26, 1830 – 1833 ?

[3][4]

William Rockwell 1833 – June 3, 1839 ?

[3][4]

Nathan B. Morse June 3, 1839 – June 1847 ?

[3][4]

Harmanus B. Duryea June 1847 – January 1, 1854 ?

[3][4]

Richard C. Underhill January 1, 1854 – January 1, 1857 Whig
John G. Schumaker January 1, 1857 – January 1, 1860 Democratic
John Winslow January 1, 1860 – January 1, 1863 Republican
Samuel D. Morris January 1, 1863 – January 1, 1872 Republican
Winchester Britton January 1, 1872 – February 20, 1874 Democratic
Thomas H. Rodman February 21, 1874 – May 9, 1874 (interim) Democratic
  • appointed by Governor John A. Dix[3][4]
  • resigned due to illness[18]
John Winslow May 9, 1874 – January 1, 1875 (interim) Republican
Winchester Britton January 1, 1875 – January 1, 1878 Democratic
  • elected to a three-year term[3][4]
  • lost re-election to Catlin
Isaac S. Catlin January 1, 1878 – January 1, 1884 Republican
James W. Ridgway January 1, 1884 – January 1, 1896 Democratic
Foster L. Backus January 1, 1896 – January 1, 1898 Republican
  • elected to a three-year term, which was shortened due to the consolidation of New York City[3][29][30][31]
Josiah Taylor Marean January 1, 1898 – January 2, 1899 Democratic
  • elected to a four-year term[3][32][33][34]
  • resigned to become a Supreme Court Justice
Hiram R. Steele January 2, 1899 – January 1, 1900 (interim) Republican
John F. Clarke January 1, 1900 – January 1, 1912 Democratic
James C. Cropsey January 1, 1912 – April 1916 Fusion
  • defeated Clarke in election[40]
  • elected to another four-year term[41]
  • resigned to accept a nomination by Governor Charles S. Whitman to become a Supreme Court judge[42]
Harry E. Lewis April 1916 – late 1916 (interim)
late 1916 – December 31, 1921
Republican
  • appointed by Governor Whitman to replace Cropsey for the remainder of the year[43]
  • elected to the remainder of Cropsey's term[44]
  • elected to a four-year term[45]
  • resigned after being elected Supreme Court Justice[46]
Herbert N. Warbasse December 31, 1921 – January 2, 1922 (acting) ?
  • filled in after Lewis resigned and before Ruston was sworn in[46]
John E. Ruston January 2, 1922 – January 1, 1923 (interim) Republican
Charles J. Dodd January 1, 1923 – December 30, 1929 Democratic
  • defeated Ruston in the election for the remainder of Lewis' term[48]
  • re-elected to two four-year terms[49][50][51]
  • resigned to become a Supreme Court justice[52]
George E. Brower January 1, 1930 – December 31, 1930 (interim) Democratic
William F.X. Geoghan January 1, 1931 – January 1, 1940 Democratic
  • elected to the remainder of Dodd's term[55]
  • elected to two four-year terms[56][57]
  • retired
William O'Dwyer January 1, 1940 – June 1, 1942 Democratic
Thomas Cradock Hughes June 1, 1942 – February 1, 1945 (acting) Democratic
  • acting in place of William O'Dwyer during his military leave[62][63]
William O'Dwyer February 1, 1945 – August 2, 1945 Democratic
  • returned from military service[64]
  • resigned to run for Mayor, and won[65]
George J. Beldock August 10, 1945 – December 27, 1945 (interim) Republican
Miles F. McDonald December 27, 1945 – December 29, 1953 Democratic
  • elected to two four-year terms[65][69][70]
  • won the Democratic, Republican, and Liberal party primaries in 1953, but then resigned and withdrew from the election to accept a nomination to run for Supreme Court justice[71][72]
Edward S. Silver December 29, 1953 – September 19, 1964 Democratic,
Liberal,
Independent
  • selected by the Brooklyn Democratic Party and Liberal Party executive committees to replace McDonald as the nominee on their slates in the primary election, then won the primary and general elections[72][73][74][75]
  • elected to two more four-year terms[76][77]
  • resigned to run for Surrogate[78][79]
Aaron E. Koota September 19, 1964 – December 31, 1964 (acting)
January 1, 1965 – September 7, 1968 (elected)
Democratic
  • became acting district attorney upon Koota's resignation[80]
  • selected by the Kings County Democratic Party executive committee as the nominee for the election to replace Silver, and won[79][81]
  • elected to a four-year term[82]
  • resigned to accept a nomination to run for Supreme Court justice[83]
Elliot Golden late 1968 – December 31, 1968 (acting) Democratic
  • became acting district attorney upon Koota's resignation[84]
Eugene Gold January 1, 1969 – December 31, 1981 Democratic,
Liberal
  • selected by the Kings County Democratic Committee as the nominee in the election to replace Koota, and won[85][86][87]
  • elected to three four-year terms[88][89][90]
  • retired[91]
Elizabeth Holtzman December 31, 1981 – January 1, 1990 Democratic,
Liberal
  • elected to two four-year terms[91][92][93]
  • did not run for re-election (ran for City Comptroller instead, and won)[94]
Charles J. Hynes January 1, 1990 – January 1, 2014 Democratic
  • elected to six four-year terms[95][96]
  • lost Democratic primary and general elections to Thompson[97]
Kenneth P. Thompson January 1, 2014 – October 9, 2016 Democratic
  • elected to a four-year term by winning both the Democratic primary and general elections over Hynes[97]
  • died in office[98]
Eric Gonzalez October 9, 2016 – January 21, 2018 (acting)
January 21, 2018 – current (elected)
Democratic
  • designated by Thompson to be acting district attorney in his absence due to illness[99][100]
  • elected to a four-year term[101][102]

References

  1. Werner, Edgar A. (1891). Civil List and Constitutional History of the Colony and State of New York. Albany, N.Y.: Weed, Parsons, and Company. pp. 553–563. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  2. Werner (1891), p. 553.
  3. Chester, Alden (1911). Legal and Judicial History of New York, Volume 3. New York, N.Y.: National Americana Society. p. 85. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  4. Werner (1891), p. 557.
  5. "Brooklyn City". New York Times. November 12, 1854. p. 8. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  6. "Long Island — King's County Republican Convention Mass Meeting". New York Times. October 9, 1856. p. 8. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  7. "Brooklyn News — Death of Ex-District Attorney Richard C. Underhill". December 21, 1871. p. 3. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  8. "Long Island — The Offices and the Candidates". New York Times. November 1, 1856. p. 1. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  9. "Brooklyn News — Kings County Republican Convention". New York Times. October 18, 1862. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  10. "Election News — Opposition Successes in New-York, Massachusetts and New-Jersey — The New-York Election". New York Times. November 10, 1859. p. 1. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  11. "Kings County — Majority for Governor". New York Times. November 6, 1862. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  12. "State of New-York — Kings County — Details of the Vote". New York Times. November 8, 1865. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  13. "In Brooklyn". New York Times. November 4, 1868. p. 1. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  14. "The Military Arrangements — The Prospect in Brooklyn — Success Anticipated for the Republican Ticket". New York Times. November 7, 1871. p. 1. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  15. "The City of Brooklyn — The County Canvass — Corrected Figures of the Vote for County and State Officers". New York Times. November 25, 1871. p. 2. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  16. "Brooklyn News — Brief Notes". New York Times. January 2, 1872. p. 8. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  17. "District Attorney Britton's Official Removal". New York Times. February 25, 1874. p. 3. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  18. "Resignation of District Attorney Rodman". New York Times. May 8, 1874. p. 8. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  19. "Brooklyn's New District Attorney". New York Times. May 10, 1874. p. 2. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  20. "Latest from Brooklyn — The Returns Still Deficient — Gen. Catlin Probably Elected District Attorney — "Dan" Bradley Reported Defeated — The Vote for County Officers". New York Times. November 7, 1877. p. 2. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  21. "Gen. Catlin Elected". New York Times. November 7, 1877. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  22. "Brooklyn and Kings County — The Democratic Majority Reduced Within 10,000 — Gen. Catlin Chosen District Attorney". New York Times. November 3, 1880. p. 5. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  23. "City and Suburban News — Brooklyn". New York Times. October 15, 1883. p. 2. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  24. "Mayor Low Victorious — Brooklyn's Vote on State, County, and City Tickets — Mayor Low's Majority 1,840 — Majority for Carr of 615 — Democrats Controlling the Aldermen and the Republicans the Supervisors". New York Times. November 8, 1883. p. 2. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  25. "Results in Brooklyn — Nearly a Clean Sweep on Local Offices by the Democrats". New York Times. November 4, 1886. p. 8. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  26. "Mayor Chapin Re-Elected — Platt Loses a Senator in Brooklyn — Plurality of Nearly 11,000 for the Democrats in Kings County — A Heavy Vote and Slow Returns". New York Times. November 6, 1889. p. 2. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  27. "The Vote in Kings County — It Gives Mr. Cleveland a Plurality of About 30,000 — Brooklyn Democrats Richly Fulfill Their Promises — M'Kane Does His Part in the Town of Gravesent — The Democrats Elect All Five Congressman". New York Times. November 9, 1892. p. 3. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  28. "Kings County Candidates — Six Offices for Which Both Parties Have Many Aspirants — The Republican Situation Simple — Democrats Have Two Sets of Men Who Want Places — Local Harmony, It Is Expected, Will Clear Things". New York Times. September 21, 1895. p. 9. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  29. "Want an Official Count — Mr. Grout and Friends Still Discredit Brooklyn Police Figures — Returns Not Guarded, They Say — In a Room Where Any One May Change Them — Sheriff Buttling Says He's "Square" — The Republican Figures". New York Times. November 9, 1895. p. 2. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  30. "Brooklyn's New Year — The County of Kings Becomes the City of Homes and Churches — Many Changes in the Offices — Ex-Mayor Schieren Issues an Encomium on His Administration — Supervisors Die To-day — Changes in Courts". New York Times. January 2, 1896. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  31. "Decision Against Backus". New York Times. October 14, 1897. p. 2. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  32. "Democrats Take All — The Tammany Ticket Makes Almost a Clean Sweep of the Greater City — Only Two Republicans in the Council — Van Wyck's Plurality Is 80,316 — Seth Low Ran Nearly 40,000 Ahead of His Ticket — The Republicans Lose 21 Assemblymen and Elect Only 11 Candidates to the Board of Aldermen". New York Times. November 4, 1897. p. 1. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  33. "Brooklyn Vote Canvass". New York Times. November 23, 1897. p. 3. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  34. "More Offices to Fill — An Eager Quest for Plums that Remain on Tammany's Patronage Tree — Those Likely to Get Them — Senator T.D. Sullivan Happy After a Talk with Croker — Points About the Fortunate Ones on the Second List". New York Times. January 3, 1898. p. 2. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  35. "Steele to Succeed Marean — Will Be Kings' Next District Attorney, Mr. Fischer Says". New York Times (December 9, 1898). p. 2. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
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  37. "Democracy's Sweep Here — Revised Returns Make No Material Change in the Results — Tammany's Plurality 55,000 — Big Majority Polled in This City for the Second Constitutional Amendment". New York Times. November 9, 1899. p. 3. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  38. "M'Clellan — Carries the City by Over 61,000 Plurality — Tammany Controls Boards of Estimate and Aldermen — Littleton Loses in Brooklyn — Devery Gets About 3,000 Votes". New York Times. November 4, 1903. p. 1. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  39. "Tammany Wins; M'Carren Loses — Foley Elected Sheriff of New York County by 27,223 Over Ihmsen — Fusion Ticket Beaten — The Republicans Have Carried Kings with the Loss of Two Candidates — Clarke District Attorney — Ran Far Ahead of His Ticket and Is Elected by 18,315 — Whitman Beaten Here — Gerard Wins a Supreme Court Justiceship — Murphy Calls Result "Most Gratifying"". New York Times. November 6, 1907. p. 1. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  40. "Tammany Carries the County; Loses the Board of Aldermen — Harburger's Plurality for Sheriff a Bare 3,081 Votes — Murphy Judges Elected — But Fusion Beats Willet Ticket Across the River and Elects Cropsey in Kings — Bronx Gone Republican — Fusion Even Carries Queens, Though Cassidy Saves His District Attorney — Richmond All Democratic — It Was the Only Borough That Stood by the Party Against Strenuous Attacks — Sorry Night For Murphy — But He Says It's a Victory for the People Against Yellow Journalism — Cohalan's Plurality Only 691". New York Times. November 8, 1911. p. 1. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  41. "Swann, District Attorney — His Plurality 33,589, and Smith Elected Sheriff by 49,390 — Bennet Back to Congress — Has Probably Carried His Uptown District by About 723 Over Healey — Cropsey Wins in Brooklyn — Tammany Will Probably Control Board of Aldermen and Elect McAneny's Successor". New York Times. November 3, 1915. p. 1. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
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  43. "Plan Wiretapping Inquiry — Kings County Grand Jury to Hear Father Farrell's Complaint". New York Times. April 30, 1916. p. 7. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  44. "Lewis Defeats O'Neill — Republican Elected District Attorney of Kings County". New York Times. November 8, 1916. p. 4. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
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  46. "Mayor Invites All to Inaugural Party — Even Republicans Are Asked to See Him Begin Second Term Tomorrow — Many Jobs For Faithful — City Heads in Five Boroughs Name Their Followers to Political Berths". New York Times. January 1, 1922. p. 5. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
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  48. "Smith Carries in Whole City Ticket — His Plurality in Town 464,525, and All Democratic Candidates Elected With Him — Tammany Gets Surrogate — Cohalan Beaten — Big Changes in the Delegations to Congress and Legislature". New York Times. November 8, 1922. p. 1. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  49. "Dodd Announces His Office Staff — Alexander H. Geismar Selected as First Assistant District Attorney of Kings County — Woman Named As Deputy — May Patterson of the Third District Honored — Sumner H. Lark, a Negro, Also Appointed". New York Times. December 31, 1922. p. 5. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  50. "Officials Elected". New York Times. November 7, 1923. p. 1. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
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  52. "Democratic Rift on Patronage Seen — Friction Reported Among the Groups Headed by Walker, Roosevelt and Smith — Athletic Board the Key — Flynn Expected to Name Gen. Phelan and in Return Ask City Appointments — McCooey Also a Factor — Brooklyn Leader Will Seek Recognition for Dropping Soden for Brower Post". New York Times. December 30, 1929. p. 11. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
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  55. "City Gives Governor Greatest Plurality — Has Margin of 556,868 as Graft Issue Fails Tuttle — Lehman Leads His Ticket — Mrs. Pratt Wins by 651 — La Guardia Victorious — Miller Elected Judge, Alger Loses — Bond Issue Carries". New York Times. November 1930. p. 1. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
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