Urban Law Journal Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Discussion on the “Future of Prosecution”


The Fordham Urban Law Journal celebrated its 50th anniversary by bringing together speakers from both the criminal defense and prosecution side for a discussion about the future of criminal prosecution. The event was co-sponsored by the Stein Center for Law and Ethics, and the Center on Race, Law and Justice.

“Issues of criminal justice are at the forefront of so much of the public discourse,” said Dean Matthew Diller. “On one side, there are calls for limitations on the power of the prosecutor’s office, police departments, mass incarceration, and complaints about overcriminalization. At the same time, there are calls for more justice and more just punishment for crimes that feel underreported, and under-prosecuted, like hate crimes, harassment, sexual assault, abuse by police, and white collar crime.” As well as those that want “more criminal enforcement in general,” Diller said. 

Prosecutors are “at the fulcrum of all of these issues,” said Diller, since they make the decisions as to “who gets charged and who doesn’t get charged in the first place.”

The event began with a fireside chat between Breon Peace, the 48th U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Elizabeth Geddes, a partner at Shihata & Geddes. 

Peace’s office is responsible for all federal criminal and civil cases in an area spanning the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island. Prior to taking on his current role, he was a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP working on white-collar defense and litigation. 

Like Peace, Geddes has experience on both the prosecution and defense side of criminal law, having worked as a federal prosecutor for more than 15 years, including as chief of the civil rights section within the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, and as one of the lead prosecutors in the racketeering case against musician R Kelly. 

Next was a panel moderated by Professor Bennett Capers, director of the Center on Race, Law, and Justice, which featured four Fordham Law alumni working in criminal litigation. 

The panelists included Derick D. Dailey ’17, an adjunct professor at Fordham Law and senior counsel at the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office; Sharon L. McCarthy ’89, a partner at Kostelanetz, where she focuses on white-collar criminal defense and civil tax issues; Kenneth Montgomery ’97, a criminal defense attorney, adjunct professor at Fordham Law, and co-founder of The Brooklyn Combine, a community nonprofit organization; and Eliza Orlins ’08, a public defender with the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan. 

“It has been a great year celebrating the legacy of the Fordham Urban Law Journal,” said Peter Angelica ’23, the journal’s editor-in-chief, about the event. “We were thrilled to be able to host such a thought-provoking discussion for students, faculty, guests, and our participants on such an important topic.”


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