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Charles J. Hynes
Charles J. Hynes.jpg
Hynes in 2012
District Attorney of Kings County
In office
January 1990 – December 2013
Preceded by Elizabeth Holtzman
Succeeded by Kenneth P. Thompson
24th New York City Fire Commissioner
In office
November 5, 1980 – October 22, 1982
Mayor Ed Koch
Preceded by Augustus A. Beekman
Succeeded by Joseph E. Spinnato
Personal details
Charles Aiken Hynes

(1935-05-28)May 28, 1935
Flatbush, Brooklyn
Died January 29, 2019(2019-01-29) (aged 83)
Delray Beach, Florida
Political party Democratic
Spouse Patricia L. Pennisi
Children 5
Alma mater St. John's University
Occupation Lawyer

Charles Joseph Hynes (born Charles Aiken Hynes; May 28, 1935 – January 29, 2019) was an American lawyer and Democratic politician from New York who served as Kings County District Attorney from 1990 to 2013.

Early life and education

Hynes was born and raised, largely by his mother, Regina Katherine Hynes (née Drew), in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was estranged from his father, Harold Hynes. He was baptized Charles Aiken Hynes, but "since I was not fond of either of my given names, I chose Joe as my confirmation name when I was twelve."

As he was widely known as "Joe", he legally changed his middle name to Joseph upon running for political office. He attended St. Ann's Academy in Queens (now Archbishop Molloy High School), and received both his bachelor's degree, in 1957, and his J.D. in 1961 from St. John's University in Jamaica, Queens.

Career before 1989

In 1963, Hynes began working for the Legal Aid Society as an associate attorney. He joined the Kings County District Attorney's Office in 1969, as an Assistant District Attorney. In 1971, Hynes was appointed as Chief of the Rackets Bureau, and was named First Assistant District Attorney in 1973.

In 1975, Governor Hugh Carey and Attorney General Louis Lefkowitz appointed Hynes as special state prosecutor for Nursing Homes, Health and Social Services, in response to a massive scandal in the state’s nursing home industry. Hynes' office launched a comprehensive attack on Medicaid fraud, and his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit eventually became a national model, cited in a report of the House Select Committee on Aging as the best in the country. Hynes testified before the United States Congress in 1976, in favor of legislation establishing state fraud control units and providing federal funding. The legislation became law in 1977. Now, 48 states have Medicaid Fraud Control Units.

Hynes was appointed the 24th New York City Fire Commissioner by Mayor Edward I. Koch on November 5, 1980 upon the resignation of Augustus A. Beekman. Hynes served in that position until his resignation on October 22, 1982. He served as a Commissioner for the New York State Commission of Investigation between 1983 and 1985, by appointment of New York State Assembly Speaker Stanley Fink. In 1985, Governor Mario Cuomo appointed District Attorney Hynes as Special State Prosecutor for the New York City Criminal Justice System.

In 1987 Hynes investigated the death of Michael Griffith, an African-American teen. Hynes secured three homicide convictions against the defendants and published a book about the case.

District Attorney



In 1999 Hynes created "the ComALERT (Community And Law Enforcement Resources Together) public safety program which supports individuals on probation or parole as they re-enter their Brooklyn communities. The program was validated by a Harvard University study which found it reduced recidivism by more than half."

Hynes is credited with having established one of the most comprehensive-and first-countywide programs designed specifically to address ]domestic abuse as a criminal issue, and with the collaboration of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani implemented a citywide program to monitor convicted domestic violence offenders.

Election campaigns and challengers

In 1998 he sought the Democratic nomination for Governor of New York but was defeated in the primary by Peter Vallone Sr.

In 2005, Hynes narrowly beat a primary challenge from State Senator John L. Sampson who won 37 percent of the vote to Hynes' 41 percent. Mark G. Peters, a former senior official in the state attorney general's office, got 15 percent of the votes and Arnold Kriss, a former assistant district attorney in Brooklyn and a former deputy police commissioner, received 7 percent. The race had attracted considerable attention because Mr. Hynes, a fixture in Brooklyn politics, was seen as vulnerable after four terms in office.

In 2009, Hynes was unopposed.

The New York Times reported that the three-way Democratic primary race in 2013 posed a threat to Mr. Hynes. In the Democratic primary in 2005, when Mr. Hynes had four opponents, he won with 41 percent of the vote, 4 percent more than John L. Sampson, a state senator from Brooklyn. In the previous primary, an obscure candidate, Sandra E. Roper, mounted an unexpectedly strong challenge against Mr. Hynes. .....

In the 2013 Democratic primary, and then again in the general election on the Republican and Conservative lines, Hynes lost to Kenneth P. Thompson.

Electoral defeat

Hynes was defeated in his 2013 bid for reelection by Kenneth Thompson.

Personal life

Hynes was married to Patricia L. Pennisi, a registered nurse. The couple had five children and seventeen grandchildren. Hynes kept a summer home in Breezy Point, New York.

Charles Hynes died on 29 January 2019 at the age of 83.

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