In June of 2019, Republican voters went to the polls and voted for a candidate for the Republican Party line in the November 2019 general election. The count was extremely close and required the use of absentee ballots to declare a winner. On July 9th I acknowledged defeat by approximately 150 votes.
Over the next several weeks, I was approached by an overwhelming number of voters who openly discussed their feelings about the results of the primary election. From disappointment to stories of problems at the polls, our supporters were not only unhappy with the results, but encouraged me to find a way to continue in the race for the seat in the general election on November 5, 2019.
During this time, I met with the New York State Libertarian committee as they considered the selection of a candidate for the Libertarian Party Line for the November election. They also interviewed both of my opponents who openly expressed their desire for this endorsement. After a couple weeks of deliberation, I was offered the opportunity to continue in the election on the Libertarian line which I accepted.
On July 31, 2019 I formally announced that I would continue to seek the position of Broome County District Attorney in the November 5, 2019 election. I hope to continue to serve the people of New York as I have done for over two decades, securing justice for victims of violent crime.
I did file to change my political affiliation to the Libertarian Party. While the paperwork has been filed, by election law, I remain a Republican until after the November 2019 election.
Making this change is not something I took lightly. In fact, I spent several sleepless nights considering the change from the Republican Party, the party I have been affiliated with since I became a voter many years ago.
I did a lot of reading, soul searching and spoke to many family members, friends, and colleagues. I realized three things.
- No matter which political party one belongs to, there are agenda items or principles of the party that they may agree with, but there may be things they do not agree with.
- Some political parties have more tolerance, acceptance, and a feeling of inclusion than others.
- After dealing with an opponent who was supported and endorsed by the Republican Party leadership, who put out negative ads, misrepresented facts and outright lied, personally, I needed a change.
I truly believe that I am not leaving the Republican Party, but rather the Republican Party left me. The local leaders of the Republican Party have rewarded their inner circle at the expense of the general party members. This conduct has discouraged ethical, qualified candidates from running for office.
The selection and endorsement of my Republican opponent, a defense attorney with ZERO experience prosecuting cases, over a my 20+ years of experience as a prosecutor should raise a red flag across the community.
But to be clear, I’m the same Man. I have the same morals, values and ethical compass I had days ago, weeks ago, or years ago. I will continue to apply these principles as your next District Attorney. The citizens of Broome County need a District Attorney they can trust.
Within hours of announcing my plans to move forward, my Republican opponent’s committee contacted all the local media outlets with suggested questions about my change of party and the libertarian platform. Mind you, less than a week prior, he was looking for their endorsement and approached them for a second interview when he realized his first interview was not a strong as he had hoped.
He was quick to suggest questions that inferred that by changing parties I would endorse and not enforce laws regarding illicit drugs, prostitution, taxes, etc.
My first reaction was disbelief as this is the same individual who had MULTIPLE tax liens at the time he announced his candidacy and is an attorney who works to keep drug dealers out of jail (which he’s done throughout the primary). It’s also ironic that my opponent who says the current administration is soft on crime, is the same attorney best known for plea bargaining and not taking cases to trial.
But I then quickly realized that as he had done in the primary, he was fabricating items to confuse, mislead and sway voters rather than give them the facts.
Yes, the Libertarian Party in general has different views and opinions on certain laws that may be considered victimless, on taxation, and on other issues you might find in different parties. However, a member of a party is not bound to accept, believe or support every opinion or position.
More importantly to consider, is that as a District Attorney, I am bound legally and ethically to follow the law, equally apply it and prosecute criminals. I do not have the same flexibility as my neighbors or others in the party.
While I support much of the Libertarian platform and believe there should be less governmental influence on citizen’s lives. Voters should choose their representatives based on experience and qualifications, not have candidates selected for them. I assure you that when elected as the next Broome County District Attorney, the county will not become a place of lawlessness.
Early in the primary election the number one question from voters was “Who are you?” That’s no longer the case today. No matter where I go people recognize me and often come up to talk to me about the primary or the fact I’m still running for office. They now want to know why they should be casting their vote for me. Let me give you three reasons:
Experience – Results - Integrity
- A District Attorney needs experience as a prosecutor. My opponents do not have the experience I can bring to the office. My Republican challenger has never prosecuted a case. My Democratic challenger has five years’ experience as a prosecutor, but it was 30 years ago and out of state. Experience matters! This is not simply a management position, you need to know the laws in this state, how to prepare a case as a prosecutor and how to prosecute a case! Think about this… would you want a surgeon with no experience, but a medical degree operating on you?
- A District Attorney needs to have a track record and demonstrated results. My Republican challenger has never prosecuted a case and cannot show any track record. He’s never run any type of treatment or prevention program and has a long-standing record of mismanagement with multiple previous law firms. My Democratic challenger does not have any current or relevant program management experience. A lot has changed in the world since her experience in the 1980s. As the current Chief Assistant District Attorney, I work protecting victims, prosecuting criminals and overseeing prevention programs on a daily basis. The record of our office has produced a reduction in crime and an improvement in the quality of life for many Broome residents since I took this position almost four years ago.
- A District Attorney needs to be a person of integrity. I have had no personal or professional liens or judgements against me. I’ve never been investigated by NYS for matters pertaining to workman’s comp, insurance, etc. I’ve not been involved in domestic disputes and have a spotless record personally and professionally. Unfortunately, my Republican challenger has had a colorful past that should have voters looking at the facts. He does not have the integrity required for this position. My Democratic challenger is a principled candidate.
It is important that voters be informed and make their own decisions. Know the facts. Look at the relationships, motivation, relevance or accuracy of endorsements. Ask yourself, why would someone say something, do something, etc. Again, ask yourself… “What’s in it for them?” Look at the big picture.
When you do, I believe you will agree that I am the most experienced and qualified candidate to be your next Broome County Attorney. I respectfully ask for your vote on November 5, 2019.
The District Attorney is the chief law enforcement official of Broome County and represents the citizens of Broome County in criminal cases.
The District Attorney is responsible for overseeing the prosecution of nearly every crime committed in the county. This includes felony cases in Broome County Court such as murder, robbery, burglary, rape, child sexual assault, and narcotics and property crimes. Currently the Broome County DA supervises more than twenty Assistant DA's, a team of investigators, and support staff. The DA also gives legal advice to all local police departments, the Broome County Sheriff’s Department, and New York State Police regarding criminal prosecutions in Broome County. Approximately 1,500 felonies and 4,000 misdemeanor crimes are prosecuted each year by the Broome County District Attorney’s Office.
With more than 5,000 crimes being prosecuted each year in Broome County, not every case can be brought to trial. Broome County currently has two County Court Judges handling felony level offenses. Before deciding on a plea offer to a criminal defendant, the DA must weigh several factors – strength or weakness of the evidence in the case, the victims’ ability and/or reluctance to testify, the likelihood of a conviction after trial – as well as other considerations. For example, if a child is the victim, the DA must take into consideration the degree to which the child may be re-traumatized while on the stand, testifying in the presence of the defendant and being cross-examined by a defense attorney. And with some plea negotiations, there may be behind-the-scene factors that the DA cannot make public.
Defense Attorney Terry Gallagher provides an in depth explanation of plea bargains in our legal system.
Defense Attorney Terry Gallagher explains why defendants often plead guilty to avoid a trial.
All sentences in Broome County Court are in accordance with the New York State sentencing guidelines. There are many cases where the District Attorney has input and can control the sentencing. With certain felonies, however, particularly non-violent felonies involving narcotics, the sentence is quite often determined by the judge. If a defendant plea-bargains to Assault in the 2nd Degree, the sentence under NY State law is between probation and 2 years in prison. Regardless of what the DA recommends, the Judge may sentence the defendant anywhere in that range.
When law enforcement arrests a criminal defendant and charges him/her with a felony, they’re often sent by a judge to the Broome County Jail. The case is then reviewed by the Broome County District Attorney’s Office. Though sufficient evidence (Probably Cause) to arrest may exist, the DA’s obligation is to evaluate the evidence to determine if the case can be proven at trial. If there is insufficient evidence, the DA is ethically obligated to dismiss the charge and release the accused from jail. The law prohibits an individual from being held in jail for a crime that they might commit in the future, regardless of their past criminal history. If the evidence is sufficient, but a “problem” arises in the case, such as a victim’s and/or witness’ lack of cooperation, a plea agreement may be reached.
If a person is convicted of a misdemeanor, the maximum sentence under New York State law to be held in a county jail is one year. If convicted of a felony, and sentenced to New York State Prison, a defendant is held in the Broome County Jail and then transported to New York State Prison to serve his/her sentence.
In the criminal justice system, there are occasions when a conflict of interest arises necessitating the appointment by a judge of a “special prosecutor”. An example of such a conflict would be if a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office had been the lawyer for a person in the past and that person is now charged with a crime. The attorney-client privilege prohibits that prosecutor from working on the case. The judge would then appoint an experienced qualified attorney from the community to act as a “special prosecutor”. The appointed attorney now prosecutes the case. An interesting fact, to date, my opponent Paul Battisti has never worked in the DA’s Office and has never been appointed a “special prosecutor” by any judge.