Brooklyn’s federal courthouse held a reception to celebrate the publication of the New York County Lawyers Association’s (NYCLA) retrospective of the Eastern District as part of its continuing 150th anniversary celebration on Tuesday.
“Our celebration of the 150th anniversary is all about memorializing and remembering our past so that future generations will know about the important work that we’ve done here,” said Chief Judge of the Eastern District Carol Bagley Amon. “This document that I’m presented with today is such an important part of that effort.
“It has history, it discusses trends, it summarizes the important cases, celebrates our senior judges, discusses the important status of the magistrate judges and their contributions to our court. I had no idea how hard our colleagues worked until I read this book,” Bagley Amon added.
The book is an update of a retrospective on the court that was published 25 years ago by NYCLA and its Federal Courts Committee. Its principal author, Scott B. Klugman, was on hand to discuss some of the biggest changes in that time which included the construction of two new courthouses, in Brooklyn and in Islip, Long Island, as well as the fact that the court has increased its caseload nearly 40 percent over that time without adding a single judge.
Klugman also remarked how the cases that take place in Brooklyn’s federal courthouse often become the subjects of books and movies including the recent movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio — “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Other important cases of the past 25 years that made the book include many mafia trials — the heads of all five New York City crime families have been prosecuted at the court over the past 25 years — and terrorism trials — the court tries more terrorism cases than any other in the country.
“Prior to putting pen to paper, we sat down with more than 15 judges who shared their stories as well as the stories of their colleagues that are no longer with us,” Klugman said. “This publication was born out of those interviews, and I hope that it does justice to them.”
NYCLA’s President and former assistant U.S. Attorney at the Eastern District Lewis F. Tesser was also on hand to give his view of the court over the past 25 years. He shared the facts of the first case he had at the courthouse and offered a bit of humor with some others.
“We’ve heard a lot this past year about the Southern District being the ‘mother court,’” Tesser said. “Well, I’m an assistant from the Eastern District and, to me, the Eastern District has always been the home court.”
Copies of the retrospective are available in PDF format on the court’s website and at www.nycla.org.