NEW YORK, April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Donna Aldea, who served as Counsel for Special Litigation in the Queens County District Attorney's office for the past five years and as an Assistant District Attorney for almost 15 years, has become a member of Barket, Marion, Epstein & Kearon, LLP, a New York-based criminal defense and civil rights litigation firm. Ms. Aldea will head the Appellate and Post-Conviction group, and serve as Counsel to the firm.
"We are pleased to have one of the most respected prosecutors in New York City join Barket Marion. Donna is an outstanding lawyer. This addition underscores our commitment to excellence and puts us in a position to provide unmatched resources for anyone facing allegations of criminal wrong doing, and anyone who is seeking appellate review of a criminal conviction," said Bruce Barket, the managing partner at Barket Marion.
As a partner at Barket Marion, Ms. Aldea has nevertheless reached a unique agreement with the District Attorney's Office to keep several significant ongoing cases from her former position and continue to handle the cases pro bono after her departure. The cases include: People v. Mikhail Mallayev, an appeal from a first-degree murder conviction that Ms. Aldea helped obtain at trial; People v. Jermaine Dunbar, Eugene Polhill, and Collin Lloyd Douglas, which involve constitutional challenges to the Queens Central Booking Interview Program and are pending in the New York Court of Appeals; and New York v. Luis Alvarez, in which the state has sought certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, "Over these past fourteen years Donna has handled some of our most difficult and challenging appellate matters. She has briefed and argued more than 250 criminal appeals and habeas corpus applications and, in the process, has made a significant contribution to our state's criminal jurisprudence. She is among the best appellate lawyers in the state and we will very much miss her. Fortunately she has agreed to continue to handle pro bono some of the important appellate matters upon which she has been working on our behalf."
Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, Former Judge, New York State Court of Appeals, currently Of Counsel, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, said, "Donna Aldea is simply, a wonderful lawyer. I know her well, as she argued many cases before the Court of Appeals. Donna always impressed me with the quality of her oral advocacy as well as her written submissions. She argued very difficult and sensitive issues before the Court, and handled tough questions extremely well. This is a big loss for the Queens District Attorney's office. Donna will be a significant asset to the defense bar."
"Ms. Aldea continuing to work on select cases at the Queens DA office is unconventional," said Mr. Barket. "We admire Ms. Aldea's commitment to her work, recognize her unique abilities and are happy that she can join us while finishing the work she started on several of Queens' most important cases."
Commenting on her departure from the DA's office to join Barket Marion, Ms. Aldea said, "My career so far has been marked by amazing opportunities – I have learned from and worked alongside the most talented attorneys, have served in the finest DA's office in the State, and have litigated some of the most significant and interesting cases of the past decade before the most respected judges. Joining Barket Marion is another such amazing opportunity. I look forward to being a part of this distinguished firm and helping it grow and develop."
Ms. Aldea brings extensive experience to Barket Marion. She has handled complex litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court, the New York Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the Appellate Division, Second and Fourth Departments, and the New York State Supreme Court. Beyond this, Ms. Aldea's work has shaped New York and federal law. She briefed and argued several of the state's seminal right-to-counsel cases in the New York Court of Appeals, including People v. Hilberto Ramos and People v. Terrill Grice, which defined the point when a suspect's indelible right to counsel attaches under New York's Constitution, and People v. John Taylor, in which she litigated the constitutionality of the state's death penalty statute. Similarly, her arguments have helped define the parameters of post-conviction review on federal habeas corpus, often addressing important issues of first impression in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
At the trial level, Ms. Aldea has been involved in some of Queens' most interesting cases, including People v. Mazoltuv Borukhova, in which she was part of the trial team that successfully prosecuted the defendant for first-degree murder based on circumstantial evidence that the defendant hired her cousin to kill her husband in front of their four-year-old daughter; People v. Barbara Sheehan, where defendant shot and killed her husband, a retired police officer, and proffered a justification defense based on battered women's syndrome; and People v. Farid Popal, a circumstantial homicide case where the victim's body was never recovered.
And in her role as Counsel for Special Litigation in the District Attorney's Office, Ms. Aldea developed and litigated many novel and controversial legal issues, including constitutional issues stemming from "John Doe" DNA indictments, the admissibility of expert testimony regarding shaken baby syndrome, the applicability of the emergency exception to the warrant requirement, the constitutionality of recording and admitting prisoners' telephone calls into evidence, the viability of Second Amendment challenges to gun possession charges, the scope and breadth of judges' inherent authority under the Judiciary Law, and the constitutionality and ethics of pre-arraignment interrogation programs.
Ms. Aldea is based in the firm's Garden City office at 666 Old Country Road.
About Barket Marion
Barket, Marion, Epstein & Kearon LLP is a diverse criminal defense and civil rights firm with offices in Garden City, Long Island and New York City. Visit the Barket Marion website at http://www.barketmarion.com.
SOURCE Barket, Marion, Epstein & Kearon, LLP