The Great Dan McCarthy died on Valentine’s Day, and he’s probably up there with some wry remark about that. Dan was a Bronx Assistant District Attorney whom I had the great good fortune to get to know when I worked for the National College of District Attorneys and he served as a frequent College faculty member, teaching new and experienced prosecutors how to try a case.
Dan was an extraordinarily fine teacher, trial lawyer and a “Prince of a guy.” A recent news article described him as a “quietly brilliant seeker of justice.” Defense counsel Sam Braverman summarized his approach to trial work in this way: “Dan was so successful because he was able to see the whole case in both legal and human terms.” Michael Flaherty, First Assistant in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office in New York, put it well when he said that “to know him was to love him.”
Sarena Straus, author, news commentator and former Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx, praised Dan’s mentorship and his teaching skills in an article entitled “In Memory of Dan McCarthy – My Friend and Teacher.” She explained his talent as trial lawyer in this way:
“Above all, Dan was a brilliant story teller. When you sat in his courtroom and listened to him try a case, you felt like you were not in a court of law, but inside a compelling and often horrifying but brilliant book, hearing a story about people and the things they do to each other – terrible things. But in this book, you had the power to do something about it. The end was in the power of the people.”
All these things are true. He was a wonderful human being, trial lawyer, teacher, friend and mentor. Add to that his sense of humor that delighted all who knew him or heard him teach. We miss you.