Hon. Charles Hynes
District Attorney of Kings County
350 Jay Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201
CHARLES J. HYNES
KINGS COUNTY, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
1990 to PRESENT
On November 7, 2005, Charles J. Hynes was re-elected to his fifth term as the District Attorney of Kings County (Brooklyn), New York; he was sworn into office on January 10, 2006.
The District Attorney began his career in public service in 1963 as an associate attorney for the Legal Aid Society. In 1969, he joined the Kings County District Attorney's Office as an Assistant District Attorney. In 1971, he was named Chief of the Rackets Bureau and in 1973, he was promoted to First Assistant District Attorney.
In 1975, Governor Hugh Carey and Attorney General Louis Lefkowitz appointed Mr. Hynes as Special State Prosecutor to investigate nursing home fraud. His State Medicaid Fraud Control Unit became a national model and his Medicaid Fraud Control legislation - which provided federal funding for any state interested in starting a unit - became law in 1978. That same year, District Attorney Hynes was elected the first president of the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units. Today, 47 states have Medicaid fraud control units.
In 1980, Mayor Edward I. Koch appointed Mr. Hynes as Fire Commissioner of New York City. In 1982, after two years in that post as Fire Commissioner, he left public service for private practice. He returned to public service in 1985, appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo as a Special State Prosecutor for the New York City Criminal Justice System.
In 1987, the District Attorney became the center of national attention when Governor Cuomo called on him to investigate the murder of Michael Griffith in Howard Beach, Queens. As the Special Prosecutor and Chief Trial Attorney in that case, Mr. Hynes led the investigation and prosecution which resulted in three homicide convictions.
As District Attorney, Mr. Hynes has pioneered many innovative criminal justice strategies. He started one of the first specialized domestic violence bureaus in the country and then worked with court administrators to establish one of the first domestic violence court parts in New York State. He started one of the first Drug Treatment Alternative-to-Prison (DTAP) programs for chronic drug offenders in the country, which has rehabilitated hundreds of nonviolent drug addicts and become a model for the nation.
District Attorney Hynes created a Crimes Against Children Bureau to bring special expertise to child abuse cases and a School Advocacy Bureau to handle cases that arise in schools or on school grounds. He created a faith-based mentoring program called Youth and Congregations in Partnership to provide support to court-involved youth from members of Brooklyn’s churches, mosques and synagogues. And he created an adopt-a-school program called Legal Lives to teach fifth graders about the criminal justice system, which is supplemented by a Truancy Reduction Program called T.R.A.C.K. which now has been copied in every other borough of New York City.
In 1999, Mr. Hynes created the ComALERT public safety program which supports individuals on probation or parole as they re-enter their Brooklyn communities. He was motivated to implement ComALERT by his philosophy that education, intervention and rehabilitation are as important as traditional law enforcement techniques. This program refers participants to community-based organizations that provide them with job training, job placement, education, housing, mental health and substance abuse counseling.
Mr. Hynes is now spearheading a groundbreaking alternative-to-prison program for mothers and their children through a not-for-profit foundation named in honor of his mother, Regina Drew. The Drew Foundation is planning to build the first residence of its kind in the country in which women will be permitted to remain with all of their children in a secure, community-based setting while receiving intensive trauma-focused, rehabilitative services.
District Attorney Hynes is a proud and life-long resident of Brooklyn, where he was born and raised in the Flatbush section. He met his wife, Patricia L. Pennisi, a registered nurse, while they were undergraduate students. He attended St. John's University while she was at Kings County Hospital. Throughout the years, he and Mrs. Hynes have remained professionally and personally loyal to Brooklyn where they chose to pursue their respective careers and raise five children. In October of 2003, Mr. and Mrs. Hynes celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary. Today, the two enjoy the role of grandparents to thirteen grandchildren.
Since 1982, Mr. Hynes has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the New York State Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, and, since 2000, he has served as a member of the American Bar Association where he sat as co-chair of the Prosecutors Function Committee and as a member of the Criminal Justice Section. In 2005, the Criminal Justice Section presented Mr. Hynes with their “Minister of Justice Award.” Mr. Hynes was appointed by the ABA President to serve as a member of the Commission on Effective Criminal Sanctions in 2006, for a term of two years. He has co-authored and published “Incident at Howard Beach: The Case For Murder” and has contributed to another book, “The Regulation of Nursing Homes: A Case Study.” In the Spring of 2007, St. Martin’s Press, Thomas Dunne Imprint will publish Mr. Hynes’ first novel, “Triple Homicide.” Mr. Hynes continues to demonstrate his commitment to public service and education by serving as an Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy at three New York City Law Schools: St. John's, Fordham University and Brooklyn Law School.