District Attorney candidates respond to letters, coverage
The Livingston County News does not accept letters about political candidates in the week before an election. Instead, we give each of the candidates a chance to respond to claims made by their opponents. District Attorney candidates Steve Sessler, Eric Schiener and Greg McCaffrey accepted our offer to respond specifically to letters and news coverage about the race.
Choose a candidate to see his response
First and foremost, with respect to my time in the Monroe County District Attorneys Office, where I personally prosecuted over 250 felonies, over 2,000 misdemeanors and have both trial and grand jury experience that far exceeds and surpasses that of my opponents, I think everyone would agree that Livingston County is not Monroe County.
Monroe County has crime rates that far exceed those we have here in Livingston County, where I was born and raised, yet to somehow assert that Monroe County follows a different legal standard and is not applying the same state and federal constitutions, penal law or criminal procedure law is disingenuous.
Further, by asserting that law enforcement officers are merely faceless badge numbers on a report or do not have both a personal and professional relationship with the Assistant District Attorneys of Monroe County is offensive.
These officers, like law enforcement here in our county, risk their lives everyday to protect and serve the community and the attorneys prosecuting the cases always make the time and effort to discuss the cases, prepare their witnesses and uphold their duty.
Within our county there are hundreds of current and retired law enforcement officials who have had the opportunity to work in Monroe County, and I guarantee each and everyone of these officials will vouch for the professionalism, work load and working relationship they maintained with the District Attorneys Office.
What is further offensive is the assertion that I am somehow inexperienced and do not truly understand the values of the people of Livingston County.
I have spent nearly everyday of my professional career in a courtroom, from prosecuting cases across two counties, defending criminal cases throughout Western New York and have handled the leadership role of this office seamlessly since May. Three generations of my family call this county home and after growing up in York, marrying a Lima girl and raising my family here, it is again offensive to state that I somehow do not understand the needs of this community.
In terms of handling cases stemming from the two state prisons in our county, Eric Schiener neglects the statistics that support the change in office policy under my leadership. From January 2008 until May 2012, this office accepted prosecution on 12 of 80 investigations from these two facilities, yet under my leadership since June, we have prosecuted four of seven cases.
Of significance is that the corrections officers within these prisons, who would appear to be in the best position to understand the cases stemming from their prison and when they are prosecuted, have chosen to endorse me as their candidate (New York State Correctional Officers Police Benevolent Association, or NYSCOPBA).
The editorial of Kimberly Moran has several glaring omissions and errors, including: the failure to mention that she is married to the only person who ever hired Eric Schiener for a job; that the display of “partisan politics” in having Eric Schiener resign was one of necessity given the unwillingness of the county to pay the salaries of a staff that was increasing from seven to eight attorneys and also the inability to facilitate the positive changes instituted over the last five months while having a political opponent within the same office who would be resistant to change after 12 years of following the prior administration; that Mrs. Moran had previously retired before I was appointed, and that we never had the opportunity to work together.
Her assertion that I am offering premature plea deals is without merit and is completely unsupported, there has been nothing in any of my policies that has enabled defendants to be released from jail sooner and any felonies reduced to misdemeanors have been supported by the facts of the case.
Simply put, my aggressive approach to prosecution and foresight to screen and resolve cases in the early stages where appropriate, has helped crime victims, the county and law enforcement.
Further, and while aware of all the facts, proof and circumstances of the case, I stand 100 percent behind my decision against seeking jail time for those 18-21 year old college volleyball players who were involved in an alcohol related incident in September.
I ask each and every voter to take a moment and not be misled by statements that are wholly unsupported.
I ask each and every voter to decide what experience really is and then vote to keep the District Attorney who has remained non-partisan from day one, who grew up in Livingston County, who has been both a prosecutor and defense attorney, who has the most trial, grand jury and leadership experience and who is the only candidate endorsed by law enforcement.
Vote to Keep Greg McCaffrey District Attorney. Gregory J. McCaffrey, Livingston County District Attorney.
Greg McCaffrey is the Livingston County District Attorney and the Democratic and Independence Party candidate for the office.
I have not and will not run a negative campaign as I seek the office of Livingston County District Attorney.
While my approach is not being used by others in this contest, I have chosen to adhere to it because I believe that voters disapprove of dirty politics and that voters are tired of their decisions being made for them by the “usual politicians.”
The voters of Livingston County deserve a District Attorney with seasoned judgment and 23 years of courtroom experience- begun as a prosecutor in the U.S. Marine Corps; continued as a successful trial attorney; and supplemented by 10 years’ service as a judge.
I am dedicated to justice and the law. In the service of the law, I combine determination and a relentless dedication to excellence. I do not give up or give in or willingly accept second best.
I follow an uncompromising code of personal integrity; I will be accountable for my actions; I will hold others accountable for theirs. I have and will continue to stand for what is right in spite of adverse consequences.
I will ensure that the guilty do not escape and that the innocent do not suffer.
Livingston County Voters…now is the time for you to be the one who determines the county’s next chief criminal prosecutor. When you vote for me, you will receive the benefits of my vast experience in the law and my dedication to doing that which is right. Please cast your vote for me on Nov. 6.
Steve Sessler is the Conservative Party candidate for Livingston County District Attorney.
Once again, Mr. McCaffrey has stated things about me and my record that are not true. This is not the first time Mr. McCaffrey has made statements to the press without having all of his facts straight.
First, he told this paper that the prior administration did not have the time for prison cases and that we made our decisions based on discriminatory practices. He was wrong.
Next, Mr. McCaffrey put in his campaign literature that his appointment by the Governor was based on an open and competitive process.
He even told a Lamron reporter that the Governor had interviewed me in Albany. He was wrong again. Now, Mr. McCaffrey is completely misrepresenting my responsibilities at the DA’s Office.
Contrary to his misleading statements, within months of being hired by DA Tom Moran in November 1999, I was arguing precedent-setting cases at the appellate courts and prosecuting felony jury trials in Livingston County Court. In fact, by late 2000, I was responsible for handling half of all the felony cases in Livingston County when DA Moran assigned me to prosecute all the cases on Judge Alonzo’s calendar. That caseload continued uninterrupted for the next 12 years until May of this year. But even beyond County Court, my responsibilities were significantly more than as alleged by Mr. McCaffrey and included being the primary ADA assigned to Domestic Violence cases, Sex Offender Registration Act cases, and the Livingston County Treatment Court just to name a few.
Mr. McCaffrey has proposed a number of changes based on his time in the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office. Livingston County is not Monroe County. The men and women working in Law Enforcement in Monroe County do an amazing job. But the simple reality is that when faced with the sheer volume of defendants, the prosecutors in Monroe County out of necessity have to prioritize and handle cases differently.
There is no need to try to replicate Monroe County’s system here. For over 12 years, I have worked closely with Livingston County Law Enforcement, including our deputies, police officers, troopers, probation officers, fire inspectors, DEC officers and corrections personnel to keep our Livingston County community safe. This dedicated Livingston County team has protected Livingston County families for decades.
It is true that some statewide law enforcement unions based in Albany have endorsed Mr. McCaffrey.
This has raised the question about where our local Livingston County personnel may stand. Some local police unions cannot endorse political candidates due to their by-laws and others have prudently elected not to pick sides knowing full well that they will have to work with the winner and whether they endorsed him or not it could create a very awkward relationship. The only endorsement from Livingston County Law Enforcement that matters is the one they give behind the curtain on Election Day. That is the endorsement I hope I have earned.
My wife and I are proud to have chosen Livingston County as our home. Our commitment to the values of this county is strong. Indeed, we came here not knowing anyone and over the past 13 years, our community has become our extended family. That’s why I ask for your vote next Tuesday. Not for popularity, pay or politics but for the best prosecutor to continue to protect our family.
Eric Schiener is the former First Assistant Livingston County District Attorney and Republican Candidate for District Attorney.