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DA Soares Urges Governor Cuomo to Expand and Codify Laws Assigning Special Prosecutors

Albany County District Attorney David Soares



Press Release

June 1, 2020



   DA Soares Urges Governor Cuomo to Expand and Codify Laws Assigning Special Prosecutors

Albany County DA’s Office Will Seek Special Prosecutor in Future Cases with Police Defendants

ALBANY, NY -  District Attorney P. David Soares announced today that he is urging Governor Cuomo to expand and codify laws assigning Special Prosecutor assignments in all new cases where members of law enforcement are accused of a crime or misconduct.

“I watched in stunned disbelief the life of a man being taken and streamed repeatedly on social media. These are not unprecedented incidents and yet real solutions are lost as attention is given to the subsequent violence and discussions are reduced to relationships between police and prosecutors. This cannot continue. Effective immediately, the Office of the Albany County District Attorney will seek Special Prosecutors on all new cases involving police as defendants. I am calling upon our Governor to expand the boundaries of Executive Order 147 and permit the Attorney General to handle ALL of these matters, thus eliminating any appearance of conflict or skepticism of the process,” commented District Attorney David Soares.

“Our focus as a community and as a nation should be on preventing these horrific tragedies from occurring. Riots are not the solution. Those who are engaging in peaceful protest should be commended and I am hearing THOSE voices. I have been engaging with members of the community who are offering real solutions and that’s why today I am making this announcement. If allowing others to handle these cases helps to solidify trust with the community, it is worth doing. I look forward to further conversations with those who want to come to the table with these same goals in mind.”

In August 2015, the Office of the Albany County District Attorney sent letters to the Executive Chamber urging clarification and rectification of the Executive Order 147 that was issued to assign the role of investigator and prosecutor to the State Attorney General when use of force by law enforcement results in the death of unarmed persons. Since that time, there have been many instances around the state where alleged use of force incidents involved armed suspects or did not result in death.

It was touted at the time of the Executive Order that there are inherent conflicts of interest hindering prosecutors from investigating law enforcement officials and that even perceived conflicts of interest work against the cause of justice. While time has passed, underlying conditions that continue to lead to these incidents have not improved, and understandably intensify with each new incident across this nation.

For more information please contact Cecilia Walsh at (518) 275-4710 or [email protected]