By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Honorable Robert J. Miller, Associate Justice from the Appellate Division Second Department, spoke at the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn’s latest monthly meeting on Tuesday. His message was a simple one – know the rules of the appellate court before trying a case in that court.
“It’s something so simple, but a lot of people argue before our court without knowing the rules,” Miller said. “Our court covers the broadest jurisdiction in the state so we are very busy and the key is to get to the point and be prepared.”
In his speech “Appellate Practice in the Second Department,” Miller explained that since the Second Department covers Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester counties and 51 percent of New York's total population, not being prepared can be the difference between winning and losing a case.
Miller also highly recommended that attorneys always make oral arguments, noting that cases can occasionally be won on oral arguments alone.
"Making your [oral] argument can be the only way to sway [opinion]," Miller said in noting that attorneys often forgo the opportunity to argue their case in front of the court's panel relying solely on the strength of their written briefs. "Argue the appeal."
Miller also explained that on top of simply having a wide jurisdiction that the court is also burdened with a frozen budget for the last three years which has left them tremendously understaffed. “We currently have four vacant seats,” he said.
This was the final meeting held by the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn under the leadership of current president Bruno Codispoti. It was not an easy one, as Judge Anthony J. Cutrona, often referred to as the lifeblood of the organization, passed away in January. Past president Edward Bosek also passed away in April.
“Obviously we had to go through those tragedies, but those tragedies that we endured only solidified the mutual respect that we have for each other,” Codispoti said. “It’s a great thing when you have this kind of support and shoulders to lean on. We are blessed to be attorneys who share a common heritage and support each other.”
Other members had great things to say about Codispoti’s time as president. “Bruno was a very professional, very hands-on president and very much a part of keeping us who we are,” said past president Steven Bamundo.
One of the final acts under Codispoti's presidency was the nomination and election of new officers. Robert J. Musso was named the incoming president, Bartholomew T. Russo was named the first vice-president, Rose Ann C. Branda the second VP, and Dean G. Delianites the third. Mark A. Longo will be the new treasurer, Linda LoCascio the corresponding secretary, Hon. Frank R. Seddio the recording secretary, and George J. Siracuse the historian.
Jane Carbonaro Arrbito, Stefano A. Filippazzo, and Joseph S. Rosato were also elected to the Board of Directors Class of 2016.
During the meeting, a moment of silence was held for Frank Carone, who was not able to attend because of the loss of his grandmother. “Let’s keep Frank and his family in our prayers,” added Bart Russo.
One of the last things that Codispoti did under his presidency was single out and thank Lucinda DiSalvo for all the hard work she does in helping to organize the many meetings and events.
The next event the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn will host is its annual dinner dance, which is held in honor of Codispoti on the completion of his term. It will be held on June 14 at El Caribe in Brooklyn.