Former Assistant D.A. Critisizes D.A. Hynes’ Policy

Arnold Kriss

A former Brooklyn assistant district attorney who unsuccessfully challenged longtime incumbent D.A. Charles Hynes in 2005 said Hynes made a “pact with the devil” by agreeing not to publicize the names of ultra-Orthodox child-sex offenders.

Arnold Kriss, now a lawyer in private practice, was reacting to a New York Times investigation into Hynes’ practice of not publicizing the names of defendants in child sex-abuse cases in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods.

Hynes told the Times he was doing this because revealing the defendants names would ultimately out the identity of the victims, due to the uniquely tight-knit nature of that community. The tactic has been criticized by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former mayor Ed Koch and several of the leading Democratic mayoral candidates.

“If he can’t protect his witnesses and his victims, then I think it’s time to change occupations,” Kriss said in an interview.

“I never heard a prosecutor say he’s protecting a defendant’s identity because it inures the benefit of the victim. I never heard this before,” he said. “I think this is just totally cover for what he’s really doing here, which is entering into a deal with the rabbis of that community to impede justice. I don’t get it. I don’t think any of the other D.A.s have entered into this deal, this pact with the devil, basically. That’s how I look at it.”

When I emailed him Kriss’ comments to Hynes’ office, a spokesman there said there is no double standard and that the defendants’ identities are publicly available, if you search.

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