By Rob Abruzzese
For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Defense attorney Jay H. Schwitzman was inducted as the new president of the Kings County Criminal Bar Association last night.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Schwitzman graduated from SUNY Stony Brook and later the Quinnipiac School of Law. He has been practicing as a criminal defense attorney for the past 25 years and in that time he has handled over 2,000 criminal cases. Prior to serving as KCCBA's president, Schwitzman was its treasurer since 2010.
“Brooklyn is growing, and I'm proud to be president in such an important time in our borough's growth," Schwitzman said. "I believe that we, as an organization of criminal practitioners, will follow the growth of Brooklyn in terms of prospering, and as we become a bigger and better borough, our judiciary will rise up to the challenge."
Schwitzman explained that Brooklyn's criminal justice system is the best in New York City, attributing credit to the bar association. Schwitzman plans to push for communication within the KCCBA and with the public, while also pushing for the continued legal education of its members.
“It takes a lot of communication to run this efficiently between judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys,” Schwitzman said. “We are always striving to figure out how to improve it so that the public has the confidence in the criminal justice system.
“We also have to continue the legal education of our practicing members. The law is rapidly changing and we have to stay on top of that.”
Among the rapidly changing laws is the new gun control law that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into effect. Schwitzman said that the KCCBA members must to educate themselves in order to properly enforce the law.
He added that he would like to further the process of incorporating modern technology into the gun laws in order to limit the amount of illegal weapons in Brooklyn.
“Our technological advances should be applied to the ability to pull a trigger,” Schwitzman said. “If your car can know to open the locks when you approach your car, there is no reason the same technology couldn’t be applied to the handle or trigger of a gun, or at least the effort should be made to explore that.”
Schwitzman is also expressed is interested in expert testimony in cases involving false confessions.
“The court of appeals has recently stated that at any trial it is permissible to have an expert testify about the science of false confessions,” he said. “That is something that is a developing field, and we, as practitioners, need to be on top of this matter and other changes that come about.”
He cited the 1989 Central Park Jogger case as a perfect example of how false confessions are hurting the community.
“That was a case where at least four young men confessed to a crime that they did not commit,” Schwitzman said. “They were all incarcerated and subsequently exonerated by DNA evidence.”