Having served two terms as Putnam County District Attorney in NY, Levy used his experience as a private practitioner to create pragmatic and impactful programs and initiatives to improve the fair and impartial administration of justice in the county where he lived, worked, and raised his family. This hands-on approach included extensive in-service training for all newly hired prosecutors and an open-door policy for his staff. Leading by example, Levy personally prosecuted a wide-range of criminal cases, including sexual assaults, political corruption, and witness intimidation matters.
During his tenure, Putnam County not only experienced a 40 percent drop in property crime, but it was also voted the safest county in NYS under his tenure. Levy ensured that Putnam County confronted tough social issues head-on, focusing on treatment for people suffering from addiction and furthering the resources to the Child Advocacy Center to ensure child sexual abuse and domestic and sexual violence victims have a safe place to share their stories and seek justice.
Levy was the Founding Member of the Putnam County Intelligence Committee, which united law enforcement across jurisdictions to share information and more effectively fight crime within NYS and federally.
Cutting-edge, intervention-focused protocols marked Levy’s administration. The award-winning Drug Treatment Court Program he expanded helped countless Putnam County residents transcend addiction and saved taxpayers the expense and citizens the trauma of incarceration. Levy initiated community education and high school forums on bullying, cyberbullying, and prescription drug and heroin abuse to help prevent crime in future generations.
Levy also dedicated time to training the next generation of lawyers as well. He was an instructor at The National Institute of Trial Advocacy and a long-time educator at The New York Prosecutors Training Institute. These trainings helped lead, guide, and mentor young prosecutors in cross-examination and trial strategy skills as they began their legal careers.
Levy’s expertise was built through a lifetime of legal service. As a 1992 Hofstra Law School graduate, Levy began his career as an ADA at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, where he prosecuted a wide range of violent and non-violent offenders with a practice focused on seeking justice for women and children who were the victim of physical and sexual assault.
He then co-founded his legal partnership, Levy & Santoro, in Carmel, NY. He brought his trial experience from Suffolk County to the people of Putnam County, handling complex criminal and matrimonial matters in courts throughout New York State.
Levy’s no-nonsense approach to cases and reputation as a skilled trial attorney and advocate ultimately led to his election as District Attorney in Putnam County, where he lived with his family.
His daughter, Sarah Rose, a newly admitted lawyer, is the law clerk on Judy Justice, where his mother, judicial icon Judge Judy Sheindlin presides.
Levy and his wife Lori have two other children, Jacob and Emma, who are still in school. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, scuba diving, white water rafting, and spending time with his family.
Most recently, Britt completed a 31-year career with the Los Angeles Police Department. In her three plus decades with the force, her working assignments included Detectives, Undercover Juvenile Narcotics, Field Sergeant, Anti-Terrorist Division and Undercover Vice. Her last assignment was The Assistant Officer in Charge of Recruitment and Employment Division. Britt was “the poster child” for LAPD and was featured on numerous recruitment campaigns for them. She retired from LAPD in 2021.
In addition to being a wife, a mother, mentor, educator, fitness coach and personal trainer, Britt is a cancer survivor. Britt says she is living proof of how being physical fit can help save your life. Diagnosed on her birthday in 2015, she says through God’s grace, early detection, aggressive treatment (including numerous surgeries and chemotherapy), healthy diet, regular exercise, a positive attitude and good support, she is winning the battle.
She is a Los Angeles native, having grown up in what is now known as South Central. A Washington Prep alumnus, she was a cheerleader and a scholar. Always active, she was introduced to fitness formally during her undergraduate studies at UC Davis. She ultimately received her bachelor’s degree from California State University Long Beach and has been a Certified Personal Trainer.
Britt is the owner and operator of “Get Fit with Britt-Nick.” She also runs the “Get Fit with Britt-Nick Boot Camp” in Los Angeles, CA and hosts an annual “Women’s Fitness Retreat.” She says it is her goal to help others, particularly in African-American and Latino community to get fit, stay fit and redefine, celebrate and interact in order to positively impact health and wellness to generate a healthy lifestyle legacy.
Britt is no stranger to working out and has competed in and won numerous bodybuilding contests. In her fitness business, she has worked with the Los Angeles Police Department Chief of Police and even people rehabilitating from catastrophic injury and illness. She won the the Live Saving Medal Award from the LAPD for saving a man’s life who was attempting to jump off the 110 Freeway in Los Angeles.
In her spare time, Britt enjoys archery, traveling, hiking, riding her Harley and restoring classic cars.
Acker is also the author of “Make Your Case: Finding Your Win in Civil Court,” published by Diversion Books. In the book, Acker provides readers curated, targeted information about what people want to know: what happens during court proceedings and why; how to best prepare for it — and how to avoid court entirely and find out if there is a better way.
Acker is an experienced civil litigator who has represented a wide array of clients, from major automobile manufacturers in high stakes product liability litigation to media companies in hotly contested trade secret disputes. She has been a featured commentator on “Good Morning America,” “The View,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Wendy Williams,” “The Talk,” “Inside Edition,” “Banfield,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Larry King Live,” “CNN Reports,” “Anderson Cooper 360,” “Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell,” “Extra,” “Your World With Neil Cavuto,” “HLN’s Special Report,” “CNBC Reports,” Great Britain’s “GMTV” and Sky News, and various other broadcasts. She also guest co-hosted CNBC’s “Power Lunch,” and “C Magazine” included her in an election season profile on noteworthy California women in politics. Acker also has contributed to the Huffington Post and served as a Temporary Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court Temporary Judge Program.
While a student at Yale Law School, Acker represented low-income women in family law cases and served as a teaching assistant in Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure courses. She also worked at the Office of White House Counsel, the Civil Rights Division in the United States Department of Justice and the private law firms Irell & Manella, O’Melveny & Myers and Williams & Connolly. At Williams & Connolly, she assisted President Clinton’s personal lawyers with press interviews, worked on the preparation of Congressional testimony for pending product liability legislation and researched First Amendment issues.
After graduating from Yale, Acker served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Dorothy Wright Nelson on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
After her clerkship, the Office of the Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice awarded Acker a Bristow Fellowship. While working as a Bristow Fellow, Acker drafted Supreme Court briefs and helped prepare the Solicitor General for oral argument before the High Court. Among the cases on which Acker worked was Clinton v Jones, where she assisted both the Solicitor General and President Clinton’s personal attorneys in preparing for oral argument.
In private practice, Acker’s legal work spanned a broad variety of matters, from civil litigation involving public and private entities, to various constitutional cases, to providing constitutional cases, to the provision of business counseling and advice. She also maintained a commitment to pro bono work, receiving the ACLU’s First Amendment Award for her successful representation of a group of homeless individuals against the City of Santa Barbara. Acker later worked in entertainment industry outreach for the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign and as Deputy Campaign Manager for the Los Angeles mayoral campaign of City Councilman Bernard C. Parks. After that, she worked as the General Counsel of a company that manufactured emissions control products.
Acker received her B.A. degree at Howard University in 1992, where she graduated summa cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She was awarded a Luard Scholarship for study at St. Anne’s College at Oxford University and served there as the co-editor-in-chief of the Oxford University Women’s Magazine. At Yale Law School, she was awarded an Earl Warren Scholarship by the NAACP and a Coker Fellowship by the Yale faculty.
Acker maintains an active involvement in various philanthropic, civic and business organizations. A volunteer with Love Takes Root, she has traveled to Haiti to work in a clinic and orphanage founded by that organization. She is a member of the Beverly Hills West (CA) chapter of The Links, Incorporated and additionally serves on the boards of Public Counsel; the Western Justice Center; the Boy Scouts of America (the National and Western Los Angeles County Council Boards); PacWest Bancorp; and as trustee of the Pacific Battleship Center, which operates the Battleship USS Iowa Museum. She is also a member of the Yale Law School Executive Committee and the Yale Law School Fund Board.
Justice DiMango was first appointed to serve as a Judge of the Criminal Courts for the City of New York by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. She became the first Italian-American woman ever appointed to that position. Thereafter, she was elected to the New York State Supreme Court bench in the 2nd and 11th Judicial Districts, and again was the first Italian-American woman elected to that position.
Justice DiMango’s reputation was that of a stern but fair judge combined with a balance of street smarts and legal knowledge. In the course of her judicial career she gained public recognition for handling high-profile trials, particularly those involving murders of young children, other crimes against children and hate-crime murders. She was also recognized for handling large volumes of serious felony cases from their arraignment through trial. Justice DiMango became further known for her efficiency in closing a vast number of cases in a fair and timely fashion. Her judicial acumens came to the attention of the Chief Judge of the State of New York and selected her to spearhead his initiative to reduce the backlog of felony matters in the Bronx. This initiative garnered front page coverage in The New York Times. These assignments resulted in her appointment to the position of Administrative Judge of the New York State Supreme Court, Criminal Term, Brooklyn, Kings County.
Upon her graduation from college, Justice DiMango was an elementary school teacher in the New York City Public Schools, focusing on special education of children with emotional and cognitive needs. During her teaching years and before law school she received her Master’s Degree. In addition to her Juris Doctorate, Justice DiMango holds a Master’s Degree from Columbia University in Developmental Psychology and a Bachelor’s Degree cum laude from Brooklyn College in both Psychology and Education. Thereafter, she went on to receive her law degree from St. John’s University where she graduated in the of her class, and received awards and scholarships in recognition for her other academic achievements
In 2012, she received the Alumna of the Year Award from Brooklyn College and was also the recipient of the prestigious Rapallo Award. In 2013, she was the recipient of the Distinguished Judiciary Award from the Catholic Lawyers Guild and was named “Woman of the Year” by the New York State Supreme Court Officers Association. In 2014, she was named “Woman of the Year” by The New York State Court Officers Association. Additionally, she served as Master of Ceremonies for the NY State Broadcasters Association Awards. In 2015, Justice DiMango was the Grand Marshal of the Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade. She was also recognized as being the “Woman Of The Year” for the Home Reporter and Brooklyn Spectator’s “Kings of Kings” event. Justice DiMango was also the honored celebrity speaker at The Greater New York Dental Association National Convention. In 2016, she was named “Woman of The Year” by the Italian Charities of America. In 2019, Justice DiMango was selected to be the keynote speaker by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle for its “Champions of Justice” event honoring outstanding women in the court system.
Justice DiMango has appeared on numerous television programs including “The View,” “Wendy Williams,” “Rachael Ray” and “Steve Harvey” and can be heard on many talk radio shows and podcasts. She has also been featured giving legal insight on stories on “Entertainment Tonight,” Fox News, “VH1,” “Banfield” and “Inside Edition” among others.
Upon her graduation from law school, she served five-and-a-half years as an Assistant District Attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. During her tenure there, she was given the extra responsibility of being cross-designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. She later worked as a law clerk in both Kings and Queens Counties to Supreme Court Justices Steven Fisher, Reinaldo Rivera and Luigi Marano. During this time, Justice DiMango volunteered as a Small Claims Court Arbitrator.
Justice DiMango returned to her passion for education and became an Adjunct Associate Professor of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Legal Research and Writing and Forensic Psychology at St. John’s University for approximately 10 years. Thereafter, she was an Adjunct Associate Professor at New York City Technical College teaching Criminal Law and Procedure.
More than a dozen of Justice DiMango’s court decisions have been published along with her contributions to numerous bar association journals.
Justice DiMango was the chairperson on the Board of Directors of the Law and Paralegal Studies Department at New York City Technical College, the chairperson on the Assigned Counsel Advisory Committee for the 2nd, 11th and 13th Judicial Districts and on the Board of Directors for The Cathedral Club of Brooklyn.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Hawkins Byrd (“Byrd”) received his Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 1989. During this time, Byrd worked as a court officer in the Brooklyn Family Court system. In 1986, he was transferred to the Manhattan Family Court system, where he worked on a rotating basis with all the judges, including Judge Judith Sheindlin. “I was never bored in her courtroom,” he said. “Her get-to-the-point style didn’t always sit well with the litigants, and there were times she was definitely glad to have me around.”
In 1990, Byrd relocated to San Mateo, Calif., to serve as a Special Deputy U.S. Marshall. Three years later, he accepted an offer to work as a student counselor at Monta Vista High School in Santa Clara, Calif. After reading a story about Judge Sheindlin’s new book and upcoming television show in a 1995 Liz Smith column, Byrd decided to send a letter congratulating the judge, and jokingly asked if she would be interested in having him serve at her side again. To his surprise, Judge Sheindlin returned Byrd’s letter with a phone call and offered him the job.
Byrd has appeared numerous times on stage as a stand-up comedian and actor. Most recently he guest starred in “Law and Order SVU,” “The Bold and The Beautiful,” and “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.” His other credits also include “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Nash Bridges” and “Everybody Hates Chris.” He has also acted in other films and commercials, as well as provided voiceover work for radio, television and video games. Byrd’s success has also made him a sought-after motivational speaker.
Currently, Byrd has teamed up with his wife Makita Bond-Byrd for the You Tube show, “Bonding With Byrd” to connect with friends and fans.
In his spare time, he sings, writes music and poetry.
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