Defending Victims of Crime in New York City

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Julie Schwartz ’85

High-profile court cases involving domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse, and police misconduct have been part of the fabric of a career for Julie Schwartz ’85.

From 2005 to 2014, Schwartz served as the deputy commissioner for the New York City Police Department’s Advocate Office. After earning a juris doctorate from Brooklyn Law School, she began her career in the field of criminal justice in 1989 as an assistant district attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, later advancing to bureau chief of the Sex Crimes/Special Victims Unit and deputy of the Domestic Violence Bureau.

In her tenure, she has tried numerous felony cases, including several that were prominent and precedent-setting. While reflecting on her time in a field that many would find difficult, she thinks about the victims most.

“The victims stay with me,” Schwartz said. “But the outcomes can make you feel good about what you are doing every day, and there are resources and assistance programs to help them.” Cases with a low rate of survivor recovery are particularly anguishing, she said.

“There have been some tough ones in my career,” Schwartz said, when she reflects on the impact of heinous crime on victims.

Over the years, Schwartz saw many changes brought about by the use of technology in the courtroom, particularly in the use of DNA.

“It has really changed the face of how you try a case, and it allowed us to open up many cold cases and make great strides in their resolution,” she said.

Schwartz was also instrumental in discipline and training for New York City police officers, and has lectured at the New York State Prosecutors Training Institute on the jury selection process.

Since leaving the police department, Schwartz has taken responsibility for the oversight of forensic investigations in Barclay Bank’s cybersecurity operations center in Manhattan.

“It’s crucial to have women be part of male-dominated organizations,” she said.

—Eileen Crandall

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