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Alexander Rosen, Criminal Division Bureau Chief with the Dutchess County Public Defender’s Office, has received the 2018 Kevin M. Andersen Memorial Award from the New York State Defender’s Association (NYSDA). Created by the Genesee County Public Defender Office in 2004, the award is presented annually at the NYSDA Annual Meeting and Conference, held this year in Saratoga on July 22-24. The award is given to an attorney who has been in practice less than 15 years, practices in the area of indigent defense, and exemplifies the sense of justice, determination, and compassion that were hallmarks of its namesake.
Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro said, “Dutchess County’s dedicated public defenders often represent individuals who are facing the consequences of poor decisions, are dealing with mental illness or addiction, or are experiencing housing issues. In his 12 years of service, Alex Rosen has led by example, proving that listening and being a bridge to other services or counseling can sometimes be the catalyst a client needs to make a lasting change in their life. Congratulations to Alex for receiving this much deserved recognition.”
Originally intending a career in law enforcement after graduating with a degree in Criminal Justice from University of Maryland College Park, Mr. Rosen said his experiences at an externship through Pace University School of Law at the Bronx Public Defender’s office sparked his love of helping others. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2005 and joined the Dutchess County Public Defender’s office in 2006. He became Senior Assistant Public Defender in 2009 and was again promoted to Bureau Chief of the Criminal Unit in 2015. In his role as Bureau Chief, Mr. Rosen supervises, advises and mentors numerous criminal defense attorneys, providing guidance and assisting in navigating the law and the criminal justice system.
Mr. Rosen said the consistently supportive and professional environment in which to practice law is what he appreciates most about working for Dutchess County Government.
“Dutchess County is a unique mix of urban and rural settings,” Mr. Rosen said. “You get that small-town closeness, but we have extensive resources available to help our clients. There is a high level of respect and professionalism that exists across the criminal justice system, here in Dutchess County.”
Public Defender Thomas Angell said, “Mr. Rosen has worked tirelessly for indigent defendants in Dutchess County. Not only has he demonstrated dedication, empathy and compassion toward his clients, but he has proven time and time again to be a zealous advocate who stands up for what is just and right. He has the unique combination of compassion, tenacity, and grit that epitomizes the spirit of a true public defender. It is a pleasure to work alongside him as our office continues to work to make a difference in our community.”
In their extensive nomination for the award, multiple colleagues praised Mr. Rosen for his commitment, tenacity, and professionalism. His client-centric approach to practicing law is evidenced by the numerous thank you letters from clients included in the nomination, many mentioning the extra hours he put in, his thoughtful assistance with their case, and persistent advocacy on their behalf.
“A lot of the people we help are those who have never had really good options or people to support them, and I think it’s easy to think because someone has been arrested, they’ve done something bad,” Mr. Rosen said. “If you don’t take the time to listen and understand what has happened, you can’t really help solve the underlying problem, and the client too often becomes just another file on someone’s desk. I pride myself on taking that extra step and encourage the new associates in our office to do the same. It’s gratifying to see someone unlock that internal puzzle and, as a public defender, I am able to help them find the resources to help themselves.”