Former Brooklyn DA Joe Hynes dead at age 83

SAEED SHABAZZ | 2/1/2019, 12:41 p.m.
Charles J. Hynes, 83, who served 24 years as district attorney in the ‘Republic of Brooklyn’ died Tuesday evening at ...
Charles Hynes

Charles J. Hynes, 83, who served 24 years as district attorney in the ‘Republic of Brooklyn’ died Tuesday evening at a Hospice in Deerfield Beach, Florida. According to news reports he had been in failing health for some time.

Hynes was elected district attorney in 1989 and served in that capacity until 2013 when he lost a re-election bid to Kenneth Thompson in a Democratic primary. Thompson would later succumb to cancer in 2016.

Hynes once worked as a Legal Aid Lawyer, and some observers considered him to be a reformer. However, his legacy was tarnished by reports that prosecutors in his office secured convictions by coercing witnesses into giving false testimony.

“Charles Hynes was a symbol of some of the leading civil rights and legal battles in the north for the last half a century. When he became the special prosecutor in the Howard Beach case for the first time—there had never been a special prosecutor on a race case—it actually led to three convictions. He was succeeded by the first Black D.A. in Brooklyn, Ken Thompson, and he will be remembered for his victories rather than his defeats,” stated the Rev. Al Sharpton, head of the National Action Network in an email message to the AmNews.

“I was saddened to learn of the passing of former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles ‘Joe’ Hynes. Mr. Hynes was a lifelong public servant who devoted his life to the borough he loved. My deepest condolences to his widow, Pat, his children and his grandchildren. My thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time,” said Brooklyn D.A. Eric Gonzalez in a press statement Jan. 30.

“He was a great boss,” exclaimed Sean Winter, a retired detective who worked in the Brooklyn D.A.’s office during a telephone interview with the AmNews. “You could get on the elevator and he knew your name. He also cared very much about the people of Brooklyn,” Winter said.

“My heart goes out to the family of former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles ‘Joe’ Hynes. Joe’s family is in our prayers,” states Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams in a press release.