Election guide: Suffolk County district attorney
Here’s a look at the candidates on the Nov. 6 general election ballot, with biographies reported and compiled by Globe staff and correspondents. Many candidates have also filled out a brief survey at our request.
More from the 2018 election guide:
Suffolk 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.
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.
What are two major differences between you and your opponent? First, our criminal justice system does not work fairly for everyone. I’m not afraid to propose solutions and have difficult conversations to try and address this. Second, I have the experience to be the next DA. The DA’s office has 275 employees and prosecutes 34,000 cases per year. I am the only candidate who has been a prosecutor, led large legal teams, and overseen thousands of cases.
What’s one question you would like to ask your opponent? It is the same question that I would ask of myself, and of any ADA in Suffolk County: How can we work better to address and cure the systemic inequalities in our criminal justice system?
What’s the most recent book you’ve read? “Charlotte’s Web” (to my nieces).
A criminal defense attorney in Boston and Brockton, Maloney, 38, grew up in Plainville and lives in Back Bay. He ran two unsuccessful campaigns for the Easton Board of Selectmen in 2012 and 2013 but was elected to Easton’s Finance Committee in 2014. Maloney says graduated from Providence College and the New England School of Law. Along with his firm, Maloney Law, he has owned a handful of businesses, including CannaCare Docs, a medical marijuana evaluator, and CBD Thera, a hemp oil distributor.
What’s the most pressing issue facing Suffolk County, and how, as DA, would you address it? I will prosecute violence and gun crimes to the fullest extent of the law. I will also create an unsolved shootings task force. I have met with the BPD, Sheriff Tompkins, and Police Commissioner Gross and pledge to expand body cameras and increase funding for witness protection.
It’s day one in the district attorney’s office. What’s the first major change you try to implement? I have seen hundreds of people spend months in prison because they could not post $100 bail. I will not seek cash bail for cases where I’m not seeking jail. I will empower youth to become leaders rather than hardened by the system by implementing restorative justice and addiction treatment.
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? Being a business owner, managing my own law firm and now my grass-roots campaign, I have a track record of retaining talent. I will seek higher wages and create a diverse staff, including those with life experiences such as recovery, reform, and personal growth.
What are two major differences between you and your opponent? (1) I am running to protect the community as chief prosecutor, not to be a social justice warrior. I favor treatment over incarceration but will not issue blanket “decline to prosecute” statements. (2) I’m licensed in four states and numerous federal jurisdictions, including the US Supreme Court. I was counsel on incredibly complex cases, including the Aaron Hernandez codefendant murder cases.
What’s one question you would like to ask your opponent? How do you expect to manage an office charged with prosecuting cases when you have never actually had a trial, cross-examined a witness, argued a motion, or presented evidence in criminal court?!
What’s the most recent book you’ve read? “Lean on Me,” coauthored by my mother and brother, Scott, chronicling the aftermath/recovery of his traumatic brain injury. He is an inspiration.
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The Globe’s primary guide was written by Globe correspondents Matt Stout, Marek Mazurek, Sophia Eppolito, Morgan Hughes and Jamie Halper, as well as Joshua Miller, Maria Cramer, Michael Levenson, Milton J. Valencia, Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, Stephanie Ebbert, and James Pindell of the Globe staff.
It was compiled and edited by Shira Center, and produced by Christina Prignano.