By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Kings Country Criminal Bar Association (KCCBA) held its annual awards dinner on Friday at Giando on the Water in Williamsburg, where it honored four leaders, including Samuel Gregory as Man of the Year.
“We’ve been lucky enough to have great diversity of support for this organization, and it’s really a testament to how highly regarded this bar association has become,” KCCBA President Michael Farkas said. “This has been a goal of every administration before mine, and we must, therefore, recognize immediate past President Jay Schwitzman, the architect of the modern KCCBA.
“That was definitely a stated goal of mine — to become a professional, inclusive organization where ideas and community come together within all aspects of the justice system,” Farkas continued. “I think we should be proud of what we’ve built here, because it enhances each of our own standing in the legal community, and we’re each doing our part.”
In addition to Gregory, three others were honored: Hon. Danny Chun was given the Gustin L. Reichbach Judicial Recognition Award by Hon. Matthew D’Emic, Michael D. LaRose was given the Non-Judicial Court Employee of the Year Award by Hon. Plummer Lott, and Maritza Mejia-Ming was given the Robert N. Kaye Memorial Award by Chief Assistant District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
Gregory has practiced law as a criminal defense attorney since 1984 when he worked at the Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn. He is the founder and director of the nonprofit Brooklyn to Alaska Project, a program that takes kids from the city on a two-week adventure in the Alaskan wilderness. The program is in its eighth year.
Chun, who has recently received a lot of media attention due to the Peter Liang trial — including a New York Times profile just days before Friday’s event — was introduced by D’Emic. D’Emic did his best to highlight the lighter side of Chun’s personality to contrast the Times article. Chun’s resume is impressive: he started as an assistant district attorney in 1987, he became a Criminal Court judge in 1999, a Family Court judge in 2004 and a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge in 2005, where he currently serves as deputy administrative judge for criminal matters.
Mejia-Ming serves as the counsel to Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson. Her work behind the scenes often goes unnoticed, but not by the KCCBA. She has worked in the DA’s Office since 1997. She started an Immigrant Fraud Unit within the DA’s Office in April 2014 that has since been replicated around the country.
LaRose has worked in the court system since 1982 and has been a senior court clerk in Brooklyn Criminal Court since June of 1987. He’s worked for various judges throughout his career, including Hon. Plummer Lott for 17 years in the Criminal and Supreme courts. Nearly every person who spoke during the event called LaRose one of the most helpful and diligent clerks in the Brooklyn court system.
During the event, the KCCBA also recognized Alan L. Stutman, who is retiring after more than 40 years, with a plaque to commemorate his career.