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Stamford attorney Crosland receives award from peers

November 30, 2018

STAMFORD — It’s in their nature for criminal defense attorneys to feel everyone is against them, particularly during a trial.

So it was with some relish and a good bit of ham that 20 defense attorneys gathered for breakfast Friday at the Bedford Street Diner to give fellow lawyer Darnell Crosland a Man of the Year award for recently winning his fifth trial in a row.

Former hard-charging defense attorney and current magistrate Wayne Keeney began the ceremony by saying all the attorneys sitting at the table have felt the world was against them when facing a jury.

“But I tell everybody that we, we, defend the constitution, nobody else,” Keeney said. “So it is something we all should be proud of when somebody exceeds what the norm is. But it is a rare set of circumstances when someone can win five trials in a row, which is virtually unheard of. So we thought we should honor that.”

To laughs around the table, attorney Lindy Urso said Crosland has been “clamoring” for an award like this before he even tried his first case.

“But finally after five in a row, we caved in and said he actually does deserve it,” Urso said. “As we all know, anyone who does five trials in a row probably deserves an award, let alone winning five in a row.”

Attorney Mike Skiber added, “Darnell is one of the most passionate and caring lawyers we have on the criminal defense bar and we look to him as a shining star in trying cases.”

In the past year, Crosland has prevailed in trials of State v. Mitchell in Bridgeport, State v. Caldwell in Norwalk, State v. Ulett in Hartford, State v. Hattab in Stamford and State v. Campo in Stamford.

“It has been a rough road from December 2017 ’till now,” Crosland said after accepting the plaque that read, Criminal Defense Bar Man of the Year 2018. “There were a lot of cases back to back and I can tell you that like studying for the bar, being on trial is the loneliest time you are ever going to experience.”

The Norwalk resident said he appreciated the help Keeney and Urso gave him along the way.

“It is a real journey to justice and doing this job. I think I take things a bit personal, but we try to do things the best we can,” Crosland said. “When we have prosecutors and judges who kind of join forces, and everything is against the defense attorney, it takes me to a place I don’t like to go.”

jnickerson@stamfordadvocate.com

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