NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Former longtime Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes died in a Florida hospital Wednesday morning. He was 83.
“I was saddened to learn of the passing of former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles ‘Joe’ Hynes,” current Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez said. “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.”
Hynes was elected DA in 1990 and held the job for six terms — through 2013,” CBS2’s Chris Wragge reported.
Born and raised in Flatbush, Hynes began his public service career as a legal aid society attorney in 1963.
He joined the Kings County District Attorney’s Office as an assistant DA in 1969 and was appointed to a number of special government positions, including fire commissioner, special state nursing home prosecutor, and special state corruption prosecutor.
In his two decades as Brooklyn’s top law enforcement officer, Hynes gained a reputation as a bold reformer, establishing innovative drug courts, a precedent-setting program to fight domestic violence, as well as recognizing the gender-specific needs of women in the criminal justice system.
“There hasn’t been a single woman re-arrested who has come through this program,” Hynes once said.
Hynes garnered national attention in 1987 when he prosecuted three men convicted of killing Michael Griffith, a young black man who was struck by a car on the Belt Parkway as he fled from his assailants in the predominantly white Queens neighborhood. The murder inflamed racial tensions in the city.
“My heart goes out to the family of former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles ‘Joe’ Hynes. Joe’s family is in our prayers,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said.
Hynes died surrounded by family in hospice in Florida.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Patricia, five children and 17 grandchildren.