Law & Justice

Yorktown Lawyer Marvin Raskin Leads by Example


YORKTOWN, N.Y. - There was a time early in Marvin Raskin’s legal career when he couldn’t afford to give back. As a husband and father of three, his top priority was providing for his family, and he recalls working nearly 60 hours a week trying to do that.

Years later, after his Bronx law practice took off, the well-respected criminal defense attorney found himself in the fortunate position of being able to donate his time and expertise by sitting on various volunteer councils and mentoring young lawyers, which he has done continuously for the past two decades.

“I’ve been real fortunate,” Raskin said. “I’ve been dealt a great hand and I think giving back is important.”

Sign Up for E-News

Occasionally, he will take on the case on an indigent person without charging a fee, but Raskin said most of his pro bono work is serving on committees and lecturing lawyers. In 2007, he was appointed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary. The committee, comprised of 19 attorneys, is by appointment only and there is no compensation for serving. The committee recruits, screens and nominates candidates for judicial appointment to the Family Court and Criminal Court of New York City. He was re-appointed to the committee by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“If you came to the committee and got past us, the mayor would consider you for appointment,” Raskin said. “But if you did not, he would not consider you for appointment, whether he liked you or not. I think [serving on the committee] takes a lot of work and I work with some great folks.”

Raskin also teaches many CLE (Continuing Legal Education) classes; serves on the Criminal Court Committee for the Bronx County Bar Association; and was appointed to the First Department Central Screening Committee in 1994 for what was supposed to be a three-year term.

“It’s now 2016 and I’m the vice chair and that’s the longest three-year appointment I ever got,” Raskin said.

The Central Screening Committee screens and disciplines panel attorneys appointed by the court to represent indigents.

“If a panel attorney does something improper, they’re brought up on discipline charges by our committee,” Raskin said.

Raskin, who has lived in Yorktown for 32 years, was recognized for his public service in October 2015, when he received the Lawyers Who Lead by Example award from the New York Law Journal.

“It was exceptionally gratifying, since I was the only solo practitioner to get the award and the only lawyer from the Bronx,” Raskin said. “It’s very gratifying to be recognized by your peers.”

The award is one of many on display in Raskin’s office. On five occasions he has received the New York County Lawyers Pro Bono Award for free legal services rendered to the courts.

“I was raised by my family to give back,” he said. “I’m in a position to give back and I think lawyers, who attain a position as they get older where they have the time to give to worthy causes, should do so.”

Raskin, who has tried more than 80 murder cases, said his profile was raised as a young attorney in the 1980s, when he represented a 62-year-old female employee of a daycare center accused of sexual abuse. The scandal received national notoriety and his client was eventually found not guilty. He said he also received a “lucky break” by representing several judges and politicians.

“I’ve been very fortunate to get a couple of cases that were good,” Raskin said. “I don’t think I’m a great lawyer; I think I’m an average lawyer that got some good luck.”

In 2002, he also defended Susan Mooney, a woman from northern Westchester accused of murdering her infant son. He successfully argued that Mooney was mentally ill and she was remanded to a psychiatric center before being released in 2008.

Several times, Raskin has been named a special prosecutor in instances where the district attorney of a particular county had to recuse himself over conflicts of interest. He recalls one time when an employee of a district attorney’s office was arrested for purchasing marijuana.

“When they caught her, the DA couldn’t prosecute her because she was his employee,” Raskin said.

Al Capellini, an attorney and former Yorktown supervisor, praised Raskin for his pro bono and instructional work. He also said Raskin is a “first-class criminal defense lawyer.”

Raskin, who worked under Capellini in the district attorney’s office, returned the praise, saying Capellini was an exceptional trial attorney. While never his direct supervisor, Raskin said he often sought out Capellini for advice.

The wisdom imparted on him by Capellini is the same advice Raskin shares with young attorneys today.

“It’s always rewarding to work with a young lawyer and instruct them on the proprieties of conduct in a courtroom and effective skills, because that’s how I learned,” he said. “I learned from people like Al Capellini and others who taught me the right way, and I think I have an obligation to share that knowledge.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Catching up with Westchester County Executive George Latimer

George Latimer, our new county executive, has been in office now for a little over half a year. I thought it might be a good time to check in with my friend to see how things were going. You can see the interview in its entirety on Channel 74 (Optimum) at 9 p.m. Wednesday nights.

What happened last November?

The election last November brought change throughout Westchester County. In my ...

A (Burnt) Toast to Love and Marriage, on the Rocks

In its first few moments, sitcom-style comedy “Clever Little Lies” grabs audience attention right away, with one of the most revealing wardrobe changes you’ll ever see on stage. It is done modestly but just provocatively enough to elicit vocal appreciation from amused patrons.

The fast-paced play, starring Richard Kline of TV comedy classic “Three’s ...

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne Looks Back on 2018 Legislative Session

July 17, 2018

There’s an old saying, “Our liberty is never safe when the New York State Legislature is in session.” There’s definitely some truth to that. This past legislative session I successfully fought back against several initiatives that would have added to our state’s crushing tax burden, added excessive regulations on businesses that hurt job creation and chipped away at ...

The Adventures of Superdog

I was always very impressed that my dog could bark on command and come when I called his name, until I read in the newspaper about a dog that saved his owner’s life by calling 9-1-1. Apparently, when his owner had a seizure, the dog pushed a speed-dial button for 9-1-1, barked into the receiver for help, and then opened the door when the responders arrived.

Honestly, though, it’s ...

If You See Something, Say Something

July 11, 2018

I am writing this letter because I see something different with the new Yorktown Town Board. I see an open government instead of a dictatorship with rubber stamps. I see the new Town Board working together for the best interests of the residents in Yorktown.

The auditor suggests in his report to not start a capital project without having the money first. A bad example is the Granite Knolls ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, July 19, 7:00 PM

Yorktown Heights

Bocce Open Play


Thu, July 19, 7:15 PM

Jack DeVito Veterans Memorial Field, Yorktown

Outdoor Movie Night

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, July 21, 12:00 PM

Club Fit, Jefferson Valley

Yoga for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

Yorktown Residents Named Ambassadors of Support-a-Walk

July 12, 2018

Two Yorktown residents have been named Walk Ambassadors for the Annual Support-a-Walk organized by Support Connection, a non-profit organization that provides support and services to people battling breast or ovarian cancer. This year's walk will take place on Oct. 7 (rain or shine) at FDR State Park.

Mary Heagle, Mohegan Lake

Heagle’s experience with breast cancer began when her ...