Scott Kessler

  • Lecturer in Law

Scott Kessler is the former bureau chief of the domestic violence bureau at the Queens County District Attorney's Office.  

Under his leadership, the domestic violence bureau earned a national reputation as one of the best in the country based on its high conviction rate and its successful prosecution of thousands of cases without the victim's cooperation. Kessler collaborated with the NYPD to develop a system of early investigation and case enhancement that enables prosecutors to proceed with "evidence-based prosecution." This system includes an integrated database of digital photographs of domestic violence victims, digital delivery of 911 calls, e-mails to communicate with and transmit orders of protection to victims, 24-hour "on-call" prosecutors who respond to major domestic violence incidents, and questionnaires for police officers to record excited utterances made by victims at crime scenes and hospitals. The U.S. Department of Justice studied this approach and deemed the Queens District Attorney’s Office protocols a standard for other jurisdictions to emulate.

From 1988 to 2018 , Kessler was an Assistant District Attorney in Queens County, prosecuting a wide range of felonies from investigation to trial, including murder, robbery, rape, sexual abuse, and assault, among others.  In 2005, he received the Dewey Award for Most Outstanding Prosecutor from the New York City Bar Association.  

Kessler had been an adjunct professor at St. John's University School of Law from 1996 to 2018 and has taught other prosecutors his techniques on "evidence-based prosecution" both nationally and internationally.  He was named the 2005 Adjunct Professor of the Year by St. John's Law School, and in 2006, 2007, and 2008 he was named Clinical Professor of the Year. He currently is a consultant for Corporation Counsel of Maui County in Hawaii. He will be teaching the class about the prosecution of domestic violence nationally and the current trends along with general trial strategy while his co teacher who is currently an Assistant District Attorney in Queens will be working with the students directly on the specific cases they are assigned during the semester.