Communications Office:
David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
(212) 428-2500

Date: October 27, 1999

Seal of the Unified Court System
Chief Judge Creates Commission on Drugs and the Courts
 NEW YORK - - Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman today announced the formation of the Commission on Drugs and the Courts, a panel convened to evaluate and recommend improvements to the response of New York's courts to the rampant problem of substance abuse. The 28-member committee will be headed by Robert B. Fiske, Jr., former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and a partner with the New York City law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell.

"As we approach the end of the twentieth century," said Chief Judge Kaye, "there is no question that drugs are the driving force in our criminal justice system. In New York City, 75 percent of all those arrested test positive for drugs, and over half of all felony indictments involve drug offenses. But even these alarming statistics fail to convey fully the devastating toll drugs exact on families, children and individuals whose lives are destroyed by addiction. With so much at stake, it is time to step back and to take a fresh look at the courts' response to substance abuse offenses, to determine - in as bold and visionary a manner as possible - what more the courts can and should do to address this problem. I have charged the Commission on Drugs and the Courts with this critical task, and I am immensely grateful to all the members for their willingness to shoulder this weighty responsibility."

The Commission on Drugs and the Courts will focus on the courts' role in the area of substance abuse. Its mission will include documenting the current number and types of drug cases and their cost to the court system, evaluating New York's various treatment courts and opportunities for forging better partnerships, identifying partners and funding sources for new projects, considering innovative programs that other states have undertaken, suggesting pilot projects to test new approaches and considering any necessary legislative reform.

The Commission is an interdisciplinary panel of judges, substance abuse experts, treatment specialists, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law professors and court officials.

Commission on Drugs and the Courts - Member List

Robert B. Fiske, Jr.
Davis Polk & Wardwell
New York, NY

Hon. John J. Ark
Justice, State Supreme Court
Rochester, NY

Stanley S. Arkin
Arkin Schaffer & Kaplan, LLP
New York, NY

Hon. Phylis Skloot Bamberger
Acting Justice, State Supreme Court
Bronx, NY

Steven R. Belenko, Ph.D.
Senior Research Associate
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University
New York, NY

Bridget G. Brennan
Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City
New York, NY

Paul J. Browne
Senior Advisor to Commissioner of US Customs Service
New York, NY

Zachary W. Carter
Dorsey & Whitney LLP
New York, NY

Hon. Frank J. Clark
District Attorney, Erie County
Buffalo, NY

Terrence M. Connors
Connors & Vilardo
Buffalo, NY

Hon. Janet DiFiore
Judge, Yonkers Family Court
Yonkers, NY

Monica Drinane, Attorney-in-Charge
Juvenile Rights Division, Legal Aid Society
New York, NY

John Feinblatt
Director, Center for Court Innovation
New York, NY

Hon. Jo Ann Ferdinand
Presiding Judge, Brooklyn Treatment Court
Brooklyn, NY

Hon. William J. Fitzpatrick
District Attorney, Onondaga County
Syracuse, NY

Prof. Michael P. Jacobson
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
New York, NY

Barry Kamins
Flamhaft Levy Kamins & Hirsch
Brooklyn, NY

James M. Kindler
Chief Assistant District Attorney, New York County
New York, NY 10013

Roderick C. Lankler
Lankler Siffert & Wohl LLP
New York, NY

Michele Maxian, Attorney-in-Charge
Criminal Defense Division, Legal Aid Society
New York, NY

Paul S. Miller, Executive Vice President & General Counsel
Pfizer Inc.
New York, NY
(Also Vice Chairman, Citizens Crime Commission)

Hon. Juanita Bing Newton
Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives
New York, NY

Edward J. Nowak
Public Defender, Monroe County
Rochester, NY

Mitchell S. Rosenthal, M.D., President
Phoenix House Foundation, Inc.
New York, NY

Hon. Robert T. Russell, Jr.
Presiding Judge, Buffalo Treatment Court
Buffalo, NY

Hon. Gloria Sosa-Lintner
Judge, New York City Family Court
New York, NY

Anne J. Swern
Deputy District Attorney, Kings County
Brooklyn, NY

Michael Whiteman
Whiteman Osterman & Hanna
Albany, NY

Web page updated: August 16, 2006