By Thomas Tracy
Claiming that he would not stop until every corrupt official is behind bars, Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes was sworn into office for a fifth term Tuesday evening. While admitting that most public officials are honest, hardworking people, he gave stern warning for those who are giving the others a bad name. “I mean to continue this inquiry for as long as it takes to liberate our public servants from rumor, baseless allegation and suspicion,” Hynes said, referring to his office’s ongoing foxhunt against alleged dirty judgeships that are rumored to be “for sale” in Brooklyn. Ironically, Brooklyn’s chief kingmaker for decades, former Assemblyman Clarence Norman, was sentenced to two to six years in prison for election violations and other crimes the following morning. Recalling his successes during his tenure, Hynes touted how he has taken on violent criminals throughout the borough and his efforts to take guns off the streets, which culminated in the first Gun Court in New York State to be opened in Brooklyn. At the Gun Court, 85 percent of the defendants adjudicated there have been sentenced to upstate prison terms. He also hailed the many programs that his office has instituted to lower the borough’s recidivism rate. Treatment programs like the DTAP (Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison), YCP (Youth and Congregation in Partnership) and STAR (Saving Teens At Risk), and EPIC (Ending Prostitution In Our Communities) have proven successful for directing young defendants away from jail, as well as a life of crime. Hynes biggest achievement was the creation of the Domestic Violence Center, the first one in the country. The one-stop center for victims of domestic violence was named in honor of Hynes’ mother Regina Drew, a victim of domestic violence. During last year’s primary race – the hardest election he faced since his first run for DA — Hynes had up to five opponents, including Brooklyn Heights City Councilmember David Yassky and Canarsie State Senator John Sampson, who many believe was backed by Norman. Challengers alleged that Hynes has been in the DA’s office too long and has done nothing to prosecute white-collar criminals. As the debates and political backbiting drew on, several people fell from the race, notably Yassky and attorneys Paul Wooten and Sandra Roper, who ran against Hynes in 2001 and lost. In the end, it was down to four – Hynes, Park Slope attorney Mark Peters, Brooklyn Heights attorney Arnold Kriss and Sampson. When the polls closed at 9 p.m. on September 13, Hynes received 41.3 percent of the 109,748 votes cast, according to results tabulated by NY1 News. Sampson received 36.77 percent of the vote, followed by Peters, with 15 percent, and Kriss, who received 6.8 percent. At his victory party in Bay Ridge, Hynes said that he was ready for his next run in 2009. “I’m ready for the next time,” Hynes said, surrounded by Patricia, his wife of 44 years, five children and dozens of well-wishers and supporters. “From now on I hope I can convince the 55 percent that didn’t vote for me that it’s a good idea that they should vote for me.” Hynes was sworn into office by the Honorable A. Gail Prudenti, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division. Those in attendance were Mayor Michael Bloomberg, State Senators Martin Connor, Martin Golden and Velmanette Montgomery and U.S. Reps Edolphus Towns and Nydia Velazquez.