Take an old school district attorney and an upstart assistant D.A. with other ambitions, set them in the biggest borough of the country's biggest city, inflate egos accordingly, and you've got the best look inside what happens in a NYC DA's office since...yes, Law & Order! The case of former assistant district attorney and novelist Robert Reuland versus Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes (right) stems from Reuland's "forced" resignation in 2001, with Reuland claiming that his First Amendment rights were violated. What happened was that Reuland told New York magazine, "Brooklyn is the best place to be a homicide prosecutor. We've got more dead bodies per square inch than anyplace else." Then Hynes got very, very angry because the article came out during Hynes' re-election year and the lower murder rate was part of his platform. The NY Times covered the first day of the trial (which Hynes tried to get dismissed three times), including Hynes' reaction, according to Reuland, to the quote, "'Bodies per square inch, bodies per square inch.' From you, an effete snob, I have to read this." Newsday adds that Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who was then a state senator, had also complained to Hynes about Reuland's remarks. Reuland charges that after that incident, he was asked to resign or take a demotion; this continued after Reuland's book, Hollowpoint, seemed to paint the Brooklyn D.A.'s office in a bad light. D.A. Hynes is expected to take the stand, and his team is painting Reuland as an opportunist and publicity seeker, someone who "pouts, is condescending and disrespectful to supervisors." Also, Reuland's job performance is also in question (he lost three of five homicide cases). Gothamist doesn't know who's in the right, but we do this D.A. Hynes might need a copy of Managing Gen X: How to Bring Out the Best in Young Talent.
Reuland, for his part, denies that he took a position as a homicide prosecutor to forward his career as a novelist (he got a $500,000 advance on his books while still working at the DA's office), and says he loved being a prosecutor. His website, Rob Reuland, shows that Reuland did go through the "goatee-and-black-framed-glasses" phase on the page "Rob Reuland is a First Amendment Martyr. The Times profiled him last week, and Reuland has gone back to being a lawyer, "representing indigent people charged with murders, assaults and other mayhem in the Brooklyn courts," saying, "Being a lawyer is my job. Being a writer is what I am."
Of course, Gothamist is totally expecting the murder of a former assistant D.A. who tangled with Arthur Branch on Law & Order in the upcoming season. Or maybe the former A.D.A. comes back as a defense lawyer. Whichever. And while being on the homicide beat in the D.A.'s office may not "sell" books, having a high profile civil case does!