D.A. Vance Announces Hate Crime Unit
A press release from Manhattan D.A. Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.:
New Unit to Allow Faster, More Comprehensive Investigation and Prosecution of Hate Crimes
Veteran Prosecutor to Lead the Unit
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the launch of the newly-formed Hate Crimes Unit in the District Attorney’s Office. This unit will strengthen the Office’s existing work in investigating and prosecuting hate and bias crimes. District Attorney Vance also announced the appointment of a veteran prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, as Chief of the Unit.
“Hate crimes harm not just individuals, but entire communities, and they must be treated with the utmost seriousness,” District Attorney Vance said. “The Hate Crimes Unit will enhance our Office’s ability to prosecute and prevent these offenses. ADA Illuzzi-Orbon is one of the Office’s most respected prosecutors. She will aggressively prosecute these cases, and will serve the victims of these crimes with strength and compassion.”
As part of DA Vance’s hate crimes initiative, the Office will collaborate with the New York City Police Department and community organizations to develop strategies that seek to prevent bias-motivated crimes, whether based on religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation. The Office will train and assign experienced Assistant District Attorneys to investigate and prosecute these crimes, and to coordinate the Office’s response and practices to hate crime cases. Furthermore, experienced investigators will be assigned to work with Assistant District Attorneys in hate-crime-related investigations.
ADA Illuzzi-Orbon joined the Office in 1988 and was assigned to the Trial Division, where she was appointed Senior Trial Counsel in 2000. She has prosecuted a number of high-profile cases, including the recent trial of Natavia Lowery, who was found guilty of murdering her employer, Linda Stein. ADA Illuzzi-Orbon has served as a criminal court supervisor and lectured on trial techniques to junior ADAs. She is a graduate of New York University and St. John’s University School of Law.