For the first time in decades there is no incumbent in the Suffolk County District Attorney race. There are five candidates in the Democratic Party primary on Tuesday. Who has your vote?
The hottest topic in this year's race was criminal justice reform and discussion was often about a criminal justice reform bill signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker in April.
State Rep. Evandro Carvalho (5th-Suffolk) was going to run for an open state senate seat, but changed his mind to run for the DA position once he heard that current DA Dan Conley wasn't seeking reelection. He is a former assistant district attorney for Suffolk County. "I believe diversion programs are crucial when handling non-violent, low level drug offenses," said Carvalho to Jamaica Plain News.
Linda Champion is a former Suffolk County ADA, who was an assistant general counsel for the Division of Industrial Accidents, as well as a board member and manager of Urban Edge Real Estate of Greater Boston. "As an assistant district attorney I worked to identify with my supervisor, Jonathan Tynes, those cases that could be placed on a probationary period prior to arraignment to ensure that those youthful offenders could complete school and be able to advance their college education without a CORI," said Champion to Jamaica Plain News.
Greg Henning has worked in the Suffolk County DA's office for 10 years, and took a leave from his current position of leading the office's gang unit. He is regarded as the most conservative of the five candidates. "We would ask for a sit-down meeting with each defendant and ask about background information. In breaking down each case that came into our office, we moved away from the 'one size fits all' method of prosecution and made it our goal to assess individual risk," said Henning to Jamaica Plain News.
Shannon McAuliffe was the director of the Chelsea site of Roca (the nation’s leading anti-violence program for court-involved, high-risk young men), a former public defender in Suffolk County and a federal defender for two years in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. She would like to end the cash bail system. "If someone addicted or mentally ill is locked up for the duration of their case, they are quite literally locked out of programs specifically designed to address their challenges. So when the time comes to resolve their case, we have no new information to consider. If instead, they are free, they have the opportunity to engage in the very treatment needed to address the root of their criminality," said McAuliffe to Jamaica Plain News.
Rachael Rollins was an assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts, general counsel of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and chief legal counsel of the Massachusetts Port Authority. "The DA can positively impact things like addiction recovery, mental illness and homelessness by refusing to prosecute people for being addicted, mentally ill or homeless. As DA, I will use my office to speak against these social issues being criminalized. I am particularly sensitive to addiction recovery, as I personally have custody of my nieces due to this very issue," said Rollins to Jamaica Plain News.