DA Melinda Katz
Elected in November 2019, Melinda Katz is the first woman to serve as Queens County District Attorney in the City of New York.
Born and raised in Queens, District Attorney Katz is a product of our public school system. She has been a public servant for almost 30 years.
After graduating with honors from the University of Massachusetts, DA Katz attended St. John’s School of Law. She interned for former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey when he served as US District Judge of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York; the Legal Aid Society; and the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.
In 1994, she was elected to serve in the New York State Assembly, where she wrote and passed crucial legislation to protect New York’s most vulnerable. She authored the course of sexual conduct against a child law to ensure predators are held accountable for violating children, and her efforts resulted in laws tolling the Statute of Limitations for sexual abuse of a child. Her work in the Assembly also resulted in laws that provide women direct access to gynecologists and she co-sponsored bills to establish and strengthen anti-hate crime laws and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
As a member of the New York City Council from 2002 to 2009, District Attorney Katz served as Chair of the influential Land Use Committee, using her legal background and community ties to steward major projects that helped pull New York City out of the 2001 recession.
District Attorney Katz has extensive experience in private practice, working as a securities litigator for Weil Gotshal and as a shareholder of Greenberg Traurig, a position she held until her 2013 election as the 19th Borough President of Queens.
As Queens Borough President, she worked to seal certain misdemeanor and non-violent felony convictions and to grant warrant forgiveness in order to promote second chances in communities most affected by mass incarceration.
Since 2019 and despite unique challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Melinda Katz has dedicated herself as District Attorney Katz to ensuring the safety of the 2.28 million-plus people who live, work and visit this Borough while implementing meaningful changes in the criminal justice system.
She has also established the first all-women leadership in the Office with Chief Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Naiburg and Chief of Staff Camille Chin-Kee-Fatt.
Within the first days of her administration, District Attorney Katz ended the office’s longstanding practice of requiring defendants to waive their 180.80 rights in order to initiate plea bargain negotiations and refusing to consider plea bargains on anything less than the top count after an indictment.
At the same time, she has launched initiatives to aggressively pursue and prosecute human traffickers, child abusers and those who prey on the elderly.
Among her Two-Year accomplishments are the creation of a Conviction Integrity Unit to restore justice to the wrongfully convicted (another Queens first), an enhanced Community Partnerships Division to strengthen ties to the communities that comprise the most diverse county in America, and a reinforced Rehabilitation Programs and Restorative Services Bureau to better identify opportunities for diversion and alternative sentencing for low-level offenses.
Despite the pandemic, District Attorney Katz has diligently restructured the Office of the District Attorney, with the following bureaus now in place: Major Economic Crimes, Hate Crimes, Human Trafficking, Frauds, Violent Criminal Enterprises, Housing & Worker Protection as well as a Cold Case Unit and a Crime Strategies and Intelligence Unit. She has also hired specialists in the fields of immigration and forensic sciences.
District Attorney Katz is a graduate of honors from the University of Massachusetts and attended St. John’s School of Law in New York. The District Attorney’s father, David, was the founder and conductor of the Queens Symphony Orchestra and her mother, Jeanne, was the founder of the Queens Council for the Arts. She is raising her two children, Carter and Hunter, in the same Forest Hills neighborhood where she grew up.