To those of us that know him or worked for him, Robert Morgenthau, a/k/a, the “Boss,” was and will continue to be the personification of justice and the pursuit of its principles. In his three and a half decade journey as the Manhattan District Attorney fighting crimes in the streets as well as the “suites” of Manhattan and beyond, Mr. Morgenthau did not bend to public pressure or perception, staying focused on his goal.
Whether a case grabbed the headlines and captivated the public or was only known to the single mother victimized by an abusive partner, Mr. Morgenthau sought to have each case, victim and witness treated with the highest level of professionalism, dignity and respect. Regardless of the media coverage, one thing rang true amongst all of his cases. To each victim, his or her case was the most important. Justice demanded that they be treated accordingly.
Certainly, we can’t all agree on what we believe justice is or how to obtain it. Although criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors have adversarial roles in the criminal justice system, it is this training in the pursuit of justice that has further assisted me in representing and connecting with my clients regardless of the legal issue they face. The formal legal education I received at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office under Mr. Morgenthau went far beyond books and lectures. On the front line in the court rooms, the daily reinforcement of our ethical duties, and the constant training in the intricacies of criminal law, I am a better attorney for having served and learned under him. There is no doubt my clients have and will continue to benefit from all my experiences including my time as a prosecutor. The 1000s of attorneys who have revolved through the doors of 1 Hogan Place would likely agree that the “Boss” was invaluable to their practical and ethical development in the field of law as well.
While I cannot formally speak on behalf of all the prosecutors who served under Robert Morgenthau, I am confident we all wish him the best as he travels beyond the walls of 100 Centre Street and thank him for his leadership, dedication and pursuit to make New York a better place.