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As Good As His Word

The legendary Alex Calabrese is fast approaching retirement as the presiding judge at the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn.  I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to honor the great professional debt that I owe to him.   Over the years, I have taken I don’t know how many people to visit Alex’s courtroom.  Sometimes it was a high-ranking government dignitary .  Sometimes it was a foundation executive .  Sometimes it was a reporter .  And sometimes it was just a friend.  But no matter what the circumstances – and no matter what kinds of cases were appearing in front of him – Alex always delivered.  He made my job – explaining the nuances of criminal justice reform or procedural fairness or problem-solving justice – incredibly easy.  His consistency was breathtaking.  Every time I ever saw him in the courtroom, he managed to focus his attention on the people appearing before him and to truly reckon with their complicated humanity.  He always conveyed thoughtfuln

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