Primary guide: Suffolk County District Attorney

Here’s a look at the candidates on the Sept. 4 primary ballot, with biographies reported and compiled by Globe staff and correspondents. Candidates have also filled out a brief survey at our request.

Suffolk County District Attorney

The district attorney is the top law enforcement official in the county and chief prosecutor, determining which criminal cases will be pursued and how.

Candidates:

Democratic Primary Ballot

Evandro Carvalho.
Evandro Carvalho.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Evandro C. Carvalho

Born in Cape Verde, Carvalho, 36, immigrated to Dorchester when he was 15 years old. He was a litigator and then served as an assistant district attorney for two years. Carvalho also served on the board of Teen Empowerment before being elected state representative of the Fifth District of Dorchester and Roxbury in 2014.

What’s the most pressing issue facing Suffolk County, and how, as DA, would you address it? Boston’s abysmal unsolved murder rate of black victims at 42 percent clearance rate. As DA, I will 1) create an unsolved cold case unit for shootings and homicides; 2) work with BPD to assign homicide detectives to specific neighborhoods; and 3) focus on efforts that will restore trust, i.e. walking beat patrols.

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It’s day one in the district attorney’s office. What’s the first major change you try to implement? Hire a chief of diversion and restorative justice to focus on prevention and diversionary measures to keep people out of the system; this will help lower the current 50 percent recidivism rate in the county. He/she will also focus on diverting youth, people with addiction and mental health [issues], and veterans.

How would you increase diversity in the district attorney’s office? How would you keep talent in a field that is known for such high turnover? I will create a diversity committee that will include lawyers, community members, and experts to create proven strategies to recruit individuals of diverse backgrounds. To retain talent we must promote from within and create a fund to help prosecutors pay for loans.

How are you different from your opponents? I am a black man who grew up in and is raising a family in the communities most impacted by the decisions of the district attorney’s office. I have seen the criminal justice system from every angle: as a teenager who made mistakes, as a gun prosecutor, and as a lawmaker who changed the system.

What’s the most recent book you’ve read? I’ve been reading the Bible a lot! As cliche as it is, it has served as a guidance of how to find the strength, wisdom, and faith to push forward.

Linda Champion.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Linda G. Champion

Before running for district attorney, Champion spent five years working as the assistant general counsel for the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents, according to her LinkedIn page. She worked for two years as assistant district attorney in Suffolk County and spent four years as a board member of Chung Changing Lives, an organization dedicated to helping children.

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What’s the most pressing issue facing Suffolk County, and how, as DA, would you address it? The most pressing issue is rebuilding the community trust. We need to take a community-first approach by establishing prosecutors as liaisons in each and every neighborhood district.

It’s day one in the district attorney’s office. What’s the first major change you try to implement? Adequate and equal pay for all staff in the office

How would you increase diversity in the district attorney’s office?How would you keep talent in a field that is known for such high turnover? Step one is ensuring that all attorneys and staff are paid fairly and equally, as well as creating flexible schedules for employees with children, aging parents, or other family circumstances. We cannot lose talent because we are not flexible with the diverse needs of our staff.

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How are you different from your opponents? I’m the only candidate who can relate personally to the challenges faced by people living in poverty, struggling with domestic violence and substance abuse, and enduring discrimination. I’m also the only candidate running a true grass-roots campaign and am not relying on the political establishment.

What’s the most recent book you’ve read? “Prosecution Complex,” by Daniel Medway.

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Greg Henning.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Gregory D. Henning

The son of longtime Boston TV reporter John Henning, Gregory Henning, 38, has spent the last 12 years in Boston working as a prosecutor in the Suffolk district attorney’s office. In 2008, Henning was appointed head of the DA’s Gun Prosecution Task Force and in 2016 he was named head of the office’s gang unit. In 2011, Henning left the district attorney’s office to teach English and constitutional law at Boston Preparatory Charter Public School for a year. He then returned to the DA’s office.

What’s the most pressing issue facing Suffolk County, and how, as DA, would you address it? Suffolk County is in the midst of a shooting crisis and, as DA, I would work to fully staff a permanent unsolved shootings unit to remove more guns from our streets. When one gun is often responsible for multiple shootings, we need to do a better job of getting those guns out of our neighborhoods.

It’s day one in the district attorney’s office. What’s the first major change you try to implement? Restructuring the unit of the office and staffing an unsolved shootings unit would happen on day one. A team of multiple prosecutors, a victim witness advocate, and an analyst would review open and unsolved cases, in conjunction with others in law enforcement, to target and solve more shootings.

How would you increase diversity in the district attorney’s office? How would you keep talent in a field that is known for such high turnover? The DA’s office needs to reflect the community it serves, and to do this we must revamp recruitment. We must proactively recruit people from the community, with input from the community, who look like and speak the languages of the people we serve, and we must be able to offer a competitive wage.

How are you different from your opponents? I have the experience and vision to do this job. As a former teacher, an ADA for 10 years, and a dedicated member of this community, I will work every day to combat gun violence and the opioid epidemic, while also helping young people build better futures for themselves and their families.

What’s the most recent book you’ve read? “In the Heart of the Sea,” by Nathaniel Philbrick.

Shannon McAuliffe.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Shannon McAuliffe

After attending Suffolk University Law School, McAuliffe has worked as a defense attorney in Suffolk County for 12 years. In 2012 McAuliffe attended Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and later served as director of Roca — a program that seeks to redirect at-risk young men toward education and employment.

What’s the most pressing issue facing Suffolk County, and how, as DA, would you address it?* Eliminating discrimination in prosecution so everyone gets the same treatment, regardless of skin color, zip code, or income. I will ensure the right people get prosecuted for the right reasons.

It’s day one in the district attorney’s office. What’s the first major change you try to implement? People need more treatment, not more jail. Last year, 70,000 people died from an opioid overdose in our country. I will treat addiction like a disease, recognizing that jail makes sick people sicker; wastes $55,000 per year on incarceration; and increases overdose deaths by 129 times after release.

How would you increase diversity in the district attorney’s office? How would you keep talent in a field that is known for such high turnover? I will change the culture so people see the DA’s office like we see firefighters — those who come when disaster strikes but serve and protect all equally. I will create a 21st-century equitable work environment that ensures all can grow, flourish, and support our communities through our work.

How are you different from your opponents? I never prosecuted one way in the past and now claim, “Sorry, I’ll try being fairer now.” Instead, I always worked hard for the change I wanted to see in the system from serving as a Suffolk County public defender for 12 years to leading Roca, an organization literally proven to reduce recidivism.

What’s the most recent book you’ve read? “Ego Free Leadership,” by Brandon Black and Shayne Hughes.

Boston MA 6/18/18 Candidates for Suffolk County DA (l to r) Michael Maloney, Shannon McAuliffe, and Rachel Rollins during a debate with New England Patriots players Matthew Slater, Devin and Jason McCourty moderating the event which is organized by the grassroots Justice Collaborative Engagement Project at Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School. (photo by ) topic: reporter:
Rachael Rollins.
Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Rachael S. Rollins

Rollins is the former president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association and a general counsel of the MBTA and MassDOT. In 2013, she was named the chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority. Prior to her work with the state, Rollins, 47, was an assistant US attorney and prosecuted cases involving weapons, narcotics, and civil rights. Rollins is a member of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s Advisory Council on Racial Justice and Equity, according to her campaign website. She currently serves as chairwoman of legal redress for the Boston chapter of the NAACP.

What’s the most pressing issue facing Suffolk County, and how, as DA, would you address it?* The most pressing issue is implementing diversion programs for people who come into contact with the DA’s office because they have mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders.

It’s day one in the district attorney’s office. What’s the first major change you try to implement? On day one we begin to build trust with the community by: 1) Holding community forums; 2) Implementing a door-to-door security plan to escort undocumented parties to and from the courthouse safely; 3) Appointing a diverse senior leadership team.

How would you increase diversity in the district attorney’s office? How would you keep talent in a field that is known for such high turnover? We will recruit ADAs and staff who look like and speak the diverse languages of Suffolk County. Compensation is key to reducing turnover. I will advocate alongside Anthony Benedetti of [the Committee for Public Counsel Services] on Beacon Hill for more resources — public defenders also deserve fair compensation.

How are you different from your opponents? I am the only candidate who has been a prosecutor, a defense attorney, a civil rights lawyer, and a manager of large groups of employees. As a black woman, single parent, foster mom, and a breast cancer survivor, I bring a relevant and important perspective to the office.

What’s the most recent book you’ve read? “Charlotte’s Web” (to my nieces).

There are no Republican candidates in this race.

Read more from the Globe about this race and its candidates:

In race for Suffolk DA, residency questions swirl

Suffolk DA candidates face police officers after focusing on criminal justice reform

Do you need experience as a prosecutor to be a good district attorney?

Suffolk DA’s race raises a long-overdue question: What do voters want?

At unusual forum, candidates for DA seek support of inmates

DA candidates address an unusual constituency

Suffolk DA candidates face off at debate

Five Democrats vying for Suffolk DA job make their cases

Campaign for Suffolk DA gets off to a strong start

An asterisk (*) notes campaign representatives said they filled out the survey questions on behalf of the candidates.

The Globe’s primary guide was written by Globe correspondents Matt Stout, Marek Mazurek, Sophia Eppolito, and Jamie Halper, as well as Joshua Miller, Maria Cramer, Michael Levenson, Milton J. Valencia and Stephanie Ebbert of the Globe staff.

It was compiled and edited by Shira Center, and produced by Christina Prignano.

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