NY legal community uniting to battle hate crimes

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

ALBANY – In response to a surge in hate crimes in New York state and across the nation, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) is convening a Task Force on Domestic Terrorism and Hate Crimes to combat this growing menace.

The task force will be chaired by Carrie H. Cohen, a Morrison & Foerster partner, and former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Given the dramatic spike in bias-motivated hate crimes in New York, this emergency task force is committed to undertaking and completing its work as swiftly as possible. Relatedly, the association’s House of Delegates will consider recommendations made by a separate but related Task Force on Mass Shootings and Assault Weapons at its meeting Jan. 31.

“The promise of our country lies in government’s ability to protect citizens of all religions, races and ethnicities,” said Henry M. Greenberg, NYSBA’s president. “As a bar association, we must do everything in our power to make sure that New York state residents can once again feel safe in their places of worship and everywhere in their communities. This is a basic human right.”

The task force will examine the factors that have led to the increase in hate crimes, make legislative and policy recommendations, suggest improvements to the federal and state legal system’s response to hate crime, and help to better educate the public on the value of diversity and inclusion. The recent spike in bias-motivated hate crimes “threatens the nation’s bedrock principles of equality and freedom from persecution,” Greenberg said. “It also undermines New York State’s obligation to safeguard its residents from bigotry and violence.”

The members of the task force are:

  • Mark H. Alcott, of counsel, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
  • Hon. Ellen N. Biben, administrative judge of the Supreme Court, Criminal Term, New York County.
  • Thomas A. Capezza, partner, Capezza Hill.
  • Andrew G. Celli, Jr., partner, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady.
  • Carmen Beauchamp Ciparickshareholder, Greenberg Traurig, former judge, New York State Court of Appeals.
  • Karen Friedman Agnifilo, chief assistant district attorney, Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
  • Gail Heatherly, senior counsel, criminal justice division, bureau chief, conviction review Bureau, counsel, special investigations and prosecutions unit, New York State Office of the Attorney General.
  • Hon. C. Randall Hinrichs, district administrative judge, 10th Judicial District.
  • Scott M. Karson, partner, Lamb & Barnosky, NYSBA president-elect.
  • Joon H. Kim, partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
  • Denise O’Donnell, senior fellow, Marron Institute of Urban Management, New York University.
  • Hon. Christina Ryba, Supreme Court justice, 3rd Judicial District.
  • Paul L. Schectman, partner, Bracewell.
  • Avi Schick, partner, Troutman Sanders.
  • Carol A. Sigmond, partner, Cohen Seglias.
  • Hon. Madeline Singas, district attorney, Nassau County.
  • Hon. Timothy D. Sini, district attorney, Suffolk County.
  • Tali Farhadian Weinstein, general counsel, Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.
  • Hon. George A. Yanthis, U.S. magistrate judge (ret.), Southern District of New York.

In addition to the task force, NYSBA is convening a Presidential Summit on White Nationalism and Domestic Terrorism in America on January 29. The summit, part of the association’s Annual Meeting, will be moderated by Craig M. Boise, dean and professor of law at the Syracuse University College of Law.