No objections: District attorney honored for service to Genesee County | Top Story

BATAVIA – In about six months, Lawrence Friedman will retire through six elected terms as district attorney in Genesee County, a position he has held for 24 years.

Although he’s still on the job for a few months, past and present colleagues in the senior prosecutor’s office took the time to thank him for his contributions during the Kiwanis Club of Batavia Law Anniversary celebrations. He was awarded a special recognition award.

Speakers included First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell, who has worked with Friedman for approximately 30 years, including serving as District Attorney.

“I want to tell you a little bit about what it’s like in the office to have Larry Friedman as boss. There are a lot of things that you have before you as a prosecutor in life. There is always something to do, ”said Finnell. “But Larry told me to take the time, whatever time of day it is … sit down and talk to them and help people solve their problems in a particular case.”

Finnell said Friedman told him, and through his actions, showed him that he enjoys looking after the younger lawyers.

“We have a number of younger lawyers in our firm and I hear them go to him all day and I honestly don’t know how he does it, but he does,” said Finnell. “He takes his time and is never angry with anyone …”

Finnell said Friedman was the first full-time prosecutor and had made sure that his assistants were all full-time. Finnell said he was the last part-time ADA, while his position was combined with that of then-ADA Charles Zambito.

“At that point we were all in the new courthouse across the street. It was just such a better environment because there were resources there, ”said the assistant prosecutor. “When you had a question on a case and you had a problem – a difficult defense attorney, a case that you were concerned about – his (Friedman’s) door is always open. It was always open. I think he’s going to miss that part – being able to look after the kids – I’m not using that derogatory, I just mean the younger lawyers. “

WILLIAM HOCHUL JR., Who served as the U.S. attorney for the Western District of New York from 2010 to 2016, immediately agreed to speak about Friedman at Wednesday’s event.

“The whole time I’ve known Larry, he’s the epitome of what a prosecutor should be,” said Hochul. “As I pondered my remarks today, I started with the fact that Larry had six terms as elected prosecutor. That’s 24 years. However, add the years he did before – about 16 I was told – and you now have a career in law enforcement that is longer than almost anyone I’ve seen here today. “

Hochul said the role of a prosecutor is probably one of the most challenging roles out there.

“The prosecutor is not a law enforcement officer in the sense of wearing a uniform and badge. He works with the police. He consults the police. At the same time, he is expected to respect the rights of the accused. It spans the line, ”said Hochul. “In many cases, he decides who does the research. He decides which techniques to use, who will be the witnesses, who will be interviewed … who will and should not be charged. “

THERESA ROTH, program coordinator for the Advocacy Center for Justice for Children in Batavia, said this is the 20th year she has worked with Friedman.

“Larry Friedman has a knack for making it very difficult to say ‘no’ to him, she said. This served him well, Roth said as he and the Kiwanis Club worked out a plan to raise funds to renovate the advocacy center, which will help children who have had dire experiences.

Roth said Friedman’s talent as a prosecutor was important to his success, but added, “I think it’s really important to see the impact he has had on people in this community that are not often heard from.”

The Advocacy Center’s program coordinator said Thursday that the Kiwanis Club of Batavia had been running galas and other fundraisers for a number of years. Other Kiwanis clubs in the area also contributed, and over $ 200,000 was raised for the advocacy center.

ERIC ADAMS, retired Genesee County Family Court judge, also commended Friedman for his work through the Kiwanis Club to raise money for the advocacy center. He also said that he and Friedman have similar backgrounds, but noted that there are some differences. As Adam’s career developed, his time was spent almost entirely on the family court. Friedman’s time was almost entirely in the district court.

Adams had some advice for Friedman, who plans to move to California after his retirement.

“I understand that you’ve been in this job long enough for your pension to be vested, right? I just want you to be aware of something. I did a little checking today, “said Adams. “The average price for a house in Los Angeles County is only $ 650,000. As crazy as it sounds, California state income tax is nearly 50 percent higher than it is here. “

“I’m trying to help you in every way I can, and you might want to write this down –,” he joked. “I looked today. There are 6,227 new jobs open in the Los Angeles County area, and some of them are Greeters you’d be sure to qualify for. “

ROBERT NOONAN, a retired Genesee County Court judge and former district attorney, said he and Friedman prosecuted hundreds of cases while Noonan was in the prosecutor’s office. They also became private practice partners and good friends, he said.

“We chatted with our families and he and I even went on a week-long ski trip to western Canada that was shorted out when Larry fell badly, got up, and balanced the mountain,” recalled Noonan. “The trip was shortened and Larry had an operation. Several orthopedic surgeons expressed disbelief that someone could continue skiing after suffering such an injury. “

Their social relationship ended when Noonan was elected a judge in 1996, Noonan recalled. It started again after the judge retired.

When it was finally his turn to speak, Friedman shared his appreciation for the special recognition award he received and for those who came to speak about him.

“I appreciate all the kind and exaggerated comments everyone made tonight,” he said.

Friedman said he was delighted to see Finnell running freely for prosecutor.

“Kevin is a phenomenal lawyer. He has been in the office for more than 30 years. He’s a great litigator, ”said Friedman. “He will do a great job and I will feel very good when I leave the office with the very capable people we now have in his hands.”

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