2016-10-05 / Political Page

DA Brown Appoints New Counsel

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced on September 30 the appointment of Linda M. Cantoni, Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations, to serve as Counsel to the District Attorney. Ms. Cantoni will succeed Lois M. Raff, who retired this month after 25 years of service with the District Attorney’s Office.

DA Brown said, “Lois Raff has been my Counsel and trusted advisor for more than two decades, and it is with deep regret that I accept her resignation for retirement. But this is also a moment of gratitude for her many years of able and devoted service to me and her tireless commitment to the people of Queens County and New York State.”

Brown noted, “Lois wasn’t just my Counsel – she was, in many respects, Counsel to all of the other 61 district attorneys across the state by lending her expertise in her role as the longtime Chairperson of the Legislative Committee of the District Attorneys Association, which awarded her the prestigious Morgenthau and President’s Special Recognition Awards for her dedication to bettering the law and doing justice.”

Brown continued, “In the meanwhile, I am pleased that Linda Cantoni has agreed to become my Counsel. She is a brilliant and talented attorney who has outstanding qualifications and brings extraordinary experience to this important position. Over the last 23 years, Linda has demonstrated her superlative legal skills, good judgment and broad knowledge of the law in all of the positions that she has held in this office.”

Ms. Cantoni came to the Queens District Attorney’s Office in 1993 where she served as Deputy Chief of the Appeals Bureau, writing and editing briefs and orally arguing many appeals in state and federal courts. She went on to become Deputy Director of Special Litigation handling critically important trial and appellate litigation relating to capital cases. In March of 2000, she was promoted to the position of Counsel to the Investigations Division where she provided essential legal advice and oversight to the Executive ADA overseeing the Organized Crime and Rackets, Narcotics Investigations, Economic and Environmental Crimes, Public Integrity, and Special Proceedings Bureaus. And in 2003, she became the Deputy Executive ADA for the Investigations Division. Among her many responsibilities has been the review of all applications for court-ordered electronic surveillance. In 2009, she was honored with the New York Prosecutors Training Institute (NYPTI) Investigations Prosecutor of the Year Award.

Cantoni is a frequent lecturer for NYPTI and the Queens County District Attorney’s Office’s in-house Continuing Legal Education programs, has served on the National District Attorneys Association faculty of the National Advocacy Center and has guest lectured at bar association and law school forums. She is the co-author of “The Art of Argument” and “Think Like a Lawyer: The Art of Argument for Law Students.”

Before joining the Queens District Attorney’s Office, Cantoni honed her legal skills working in both the public and private sectors. From 1983 to 1989, she was in private practice, first as a litigation associate at Stroock, Stroock and Lavan, then as an associate with the late Robert Kasanof, specializing in white-collar criminal defense. From 1989 to 1993, she was a Senior Appellate Attorney at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. Cantoni earned her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, where she was a member of the Law Review.

Lois M. Raff has served as District Attorney Brown’s Counsel since 1993. Prior to that, she was his Director of Legislative Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations. Before she came to Queens, Ms. Raff spent 13 years at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, where, among other appellate and legislative experience, she served as Special Assistant District Attorney for Legislation and Policy. In that capacity, she worked on, among other things, successful legislation to assist vulnerable child witnesses in the criminal justice system.

For the last 18 years, Raff has chaired the Legislative Committee of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York, and served on specialized subcommittees on Juvenile Justice, Sex Crimes, Domestic Violence, and Child Abuse. In 2010, in recognition of her outstanding work in promoting legislation to protect crime victims, she received the Robert M. Morgenthau Award from the District Attorneys Association. In 2016, she received the President’s Special Recognition Award. Ms. Raff earned her J. D. in 1978 from the Yale Law School.

Ms. Cantoni’s appointment took effect on Monday, October 3, 2016.

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