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    01.11.12 Seven Criminal Justice Post-Graduate Fellowships Awarded

    A record seven graduates working in the criminal justice field have been awarded the Law School’s Criminal Justice Post-Graduate Fellowship. The fellowship, which has been in existence for over a decade, is awarded to graduates who have exhibited outstanding commitment to public sector criminal law. This year’s recipients are Bronx Assistant District Attorneys Robert Caliendo ’04, and Kings County Assistant District Attorneys Danit Almog ’04, Kendra Challenger-Nibbs ’04, Lisa Berk ’04, Vivian R. Cedeno ’01, Jose L. Nieves ’01, and John Sharples ’02.

    The fellowship was created in an effort to help experienced graduates with substantial educational debt continue to practice public sector criminal law. The fellowship’s $10,000 award takes the form of a loan forgiveness program and is paid directly to each recipient’s lending institution. It is funded from the proceeds of the annual CLE Criminal Law Procedure and Evidence Seminar, organized by Professor Robert M. Pitler. This seminar draws nearly 300 attorneys, who learn about the latest developments in criminal procedure and evidence law from a distinguished group of practitioners, judges, and academics.

    Prof. Pitler, Judge Solomon, Criminal Justice Fellows, and Prof. Bentele

    “These graduates are very deserving of this award,” said Pitler, who along with Professor Ursula Bentele and New York State Supreme Court Judge Charles Solomon, selected the fellows. “They have all exhibited a strong commitment to criminal justice work in the public sector and have already distinguished themselves in their young careers.”

    “It was a tremendous honor to receive this fellowship, and I am very thankful to the school and to the committee,” said John Sharples ’02, who is a Major Case Trial Attorney assigned to Trial Bureau Green, where he prosecutes the Bureau’s most serious felony cases. “I enjoy the work I do because it helps my city and it helps victims of crime. I am very honored to work at the D.A.’s office and I anticipate spending the rest of my legal career here.”

    “I am immensely grateful for this award,” said Robert Caliendo ’04, who is an Assistant District Attorney assigned to the Rackets Bureau (Investigations Division) of the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. Caliendo, who has been with the Bronx D.A.’s office since graduation, explained that he decided to pursue a career in criminal law in part because of his experience in Pitler’s Criminal Law class and Advanced Evidence Seminar. Internships with the Manhattan D.A.’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office also fed his interest in public sector criminal law. “I love working at the D.A.’s Office, and this fellowship helps me continue to do the work that I love.”