image of group of Chinese judges and DA ScarpinoOct. 19, 2018 --A delegation of 20 judges from the city of Guangzhou, China spent a day in the County Courthouse learning about the judicial system and the role of the District Attorney. The group (including interpreters and staff) represented Intermediate Courts in the city of 12 million. The intermediate courts are aligned closely with both our local courts and felony-level county courts. Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong Province, one of 23 provinces in China. The judges of Guangzhou Intermediate Court are charged with handling local cases in Guangzhou and hearing appeal cases from the basic courts in all districts of the city.

The leader of the delegation was Ms. Xiaoping Wu, Vice President of the Court, tasked with managing a number of judicial departments across the city of Guangzhou, and a former career prosecutor.

In the morning, they toured the courts and met with District Administrative Judge Hon. Kathie E. Davidson and Supervising Judge of Criminal Courts Hon. Barry E. Warhit. Later the delegation organizer told us, “The judges had wonderful communications on the U.S. court system, procedures, and a lot of common topics as judge to judge.”

Later in the day, District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. hosted Judge Davidson and the delegation for a luncheon and presentation. The DA explained his career path to the DA’s Office especially as a sitting judge for more than 30 years, having held judgeships at both the city and county level, as well as being elected to the State Supreme Court and, later, Surrogate’s Court. Questions from both hosts and guests ranged from the role of the prosecutor’s office to how local crime is prosecuted, how law enforcement works across jurisdictions from local up to federal, and more. 

A priority focus of their trip was to learn about the prosecution of cyber-crime. District Attorney Scarpino introduced Second Deputy District Attorney William Schaeffer, Chief of the Investigations Division, Deputy District Attorney Steven Vandervelden and ADA Michael Delohery, Chief of High Technology Crime Bureau. Delohery gave a presentation on investigating “computer” and Internet-related crime and the difficulties in prosecution. Vandervelden notes that one crime investigated here in Westchester was a financial fraud that deposited stolen money with criminals around the region and in China as well.

Calling their visit “an exceptional experience for all,” the Chinese delegation coordinator said, “The delegation is all very happy and honored to have met DA Scarpino. Mr. Scarpino’s expertise and insights impressed all of us.”

Westchester was just one stop on their deep dive into cyber law in the U.S. The delegation also visited New York University Law School and a couple of New York law firms, which specialize in cyber law. After the week of experiential visits in New York, the delegation headed to Michigan State University for a seminar on cyber/internet law studies before returning to China.