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Interim Queens DA Criticizes Candidates Seeking Brown’s Job, Says They Are Distorting Record

Chief Assistant DA John Ryan (Photo: District Attorney’s Office)

April 11, 2019 By Thomas Laforgia

Outgoing Queens District Attorney Richard Brown’s interim replacement pushed back Tuesday against criticism from candidates running for Brown’s job.

Chief Assistant DA John Ryan accused the candidates of making “misstated or distorted” claims to portray the office as disconnected from modern approaches to criminal justice.

“To hear some of the candidates running for Queens District Attorney, you would have to be forgiven for thinking that the Queens DA’s Office was stuck in the 1970’s,” he wrote.

In a lengthy rebuke, Ryan listed a number of progressive bona fides enacted under Brown’s watch, including alternative schooling for young offenders, support services for domestic violence victims, and treatment programs for drug offenders.

He did not address any candidate by name in the fiery missive, and said he would neither endorse nor oppose any of the contenders.

But Queens DA hopeful and current City Council Member Rory Lancman responded Wednesday, accusing the current regime of “complicity in over-policing and mass incarcerating communities of color.”

“It frankly revels in its obstinate refusal to enact common sense criminal justice reforms,” he said.

“Queens is the only office that refuses to establish a wrongful conviction review unit,” Lancman wrote, calling it “particularly self-serving” as its prosecutors have seen more than 100 convictions overturned since 1985.

Lancman also accused Brown’s office of refusing to ease up on marijuana and fare-evasion prosecutions, despite trends to the contrary.

Rory Lancman (Facebook)

Major crime has dropped sharply citywide since Brown, New York’s longest-serving DA, first took office 28 years ago.

Murders in Queens have dropped by 77% since 1993, while burglaries and robberies in the borough are down 89% and 84%, respectively.

Brown, 86, was a Brooklyn appeals court judge in 1991 when then-Gov. Mario Cuomo named him interim DA. He was elected to his first four-year term later that year, and has won re-election six times since. He is stepping down in June as he battles Parkinson’s disease.

Lancman’s opponents in the race to succeed Brown include Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, former Civilian Complaint Review Board chief Mina Malik, retired Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak, public defender Tiffany Cabán, and longtime prosecutor Jose Nieves.

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Click for Comments 
frank steele

Judge Greg Lasak is the only qualified candidate for DA, Spent 30 years and oversaw 2500 murder convictions worked to overturn 20 wrongful convictions and has the integrity and worked for the public good rather than making a lucrative law practice the Queens Bar Association rated him highly qualified experience included convictions of mass slayings at Wendy’s and College Point Vote Lasak and bring out your friends and family

Al Hagan

The best person for the job is Judge Gregory Lasak. He will seek real justice. Justice for the accused AND justice for the people of Queens. He alone has the experience and temperament to be the District Attorney that we need. On June 25th, vote for Lasak!


The progressives criticizing Brown are correct. Caban has the bona fides to back up the rhetoric and do something meaningful for the people of Queens.


Brown is effective.
How many NYC offices can say that?
I’m impressed the way his office pointed out half-assed mistakes in the Mayor’s jail plan, and has warned the community about the danger of this plan.


If the voters turn out in the primary and choose Melinda Katz, they get what they deserve, another career politician that will say anything to get her next job. Funny how she loved DA Brown before and now trashes his policies. She is for the jail to be put here. She is unqualified for this job. Time to send her packing!

Tyronne Fauntleroy

Lancman pandering dummy get in office Queens will wind up like the Bronx or Crooklyn. If the people of Queens county know what’s good for them don’t vote for this turd. Progressives?? Our mayor is a progressive and turned nyc back into a toilet

Stephanie Jacobs

Our mayor is NOT a progressive. DiBlasio is a Clintonian neoliberal – he once ran HRC’s campaign for pete’s sake! They all use Bubba’s old playbook: pretend to be progressive while you campaign, win, then kick progressives under the bus and govern from the right.


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