Queens DA Brown steps away from office early due to medical issues; chief assistant named acting DA

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Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced on Thursday that he’s resigning from the office he has held for the last 27 years due to recent complications from his years-long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. His Chief Assistant John Ryan will take over as Acting District Attorney effective immediately.

“It had been my hope that I would be able to finish out this term in office. Unfortunately, that is not to be,” Brown said in a statement Thursday. “Given the current state of my health and my ongoing health issues, it has become increasingly difficult to fully perform the powers and duties of my office in the manner in which I have done since 1991. Accordingly, I intend to resign as District Attorney effective June 1, 2019, the twenty-eighth anniversary of my first assuming this office.”

Brown announced in January that he would not seek an eighth term in the office he has held since former Governor Mario Cuomo appointed him in June 1991. There are currently seven candidates running to replace him with a Democratic primary scheduled for June 25. The next DA will be chosen in the November general election.

“I will continue to work closely with my staff until my retirement to ensure an orderly transition for this office and for the residents of Queens County,” Brown said.

Prior to his appointment in 1991, Brown had been a member of the state judiciary. In November 1977, Brown was elected a Justice of the Supreme Court in Queens County and in 1982 he was designated by Governor Hugh Carey as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division.

“I thank the people of Queens for their much appreciated support over the years. It is has been my honor to serve you,” Brown said. “I particularly want to express my appreciation to all those who have worked so professionally and diligently in this office as Assistant District Attorneys, Investigators and members of our support staff. Together we have built what I believe to be one of the finest prosecutor’s offices in the country.”

Mina Malik, one of the seven candidates running for district attorney, served as one of Brown’s assistant district attorneys from 1999 to 2014.

“Judge Brown has had a long and distinguished career in public service as Counsel to the New York State Assembly, a learned jurist and the Queens District Attorney,” Malik said. “Those of us who worked for Judge Brown know him to be a consummate professional who carries with him a deep knowledge of and passion for criminal justice. I wish him and his family well at this time.”

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who is also running for DA, touched on Brown’s retirement.

“I want to thank Richard Brown for his years of service as Queens District Attorney, and my thoughts are with his family at this difficult time,” Katz said. “His 28 years as District Attorney are a testament to his dedication to public service and the people of Queens.”