To the Editor:
I am writing to endorse Mary Rain for St. Lawrence County district attorney. In my 22 plus years as a trooper, I had the privilege to work with many DA's in different counties.
During that time, I have never seen an office as disorganized as that currently headed by Nicole Duve. This disorganization and lack of cooperation with police agencies has led to the failure to prosecute cases, a finding of not guilty in others and a tendency to plea bargain rather than pursue stiff sentences for the criminals of St. Lawrence County.
Ms. Duve is a good person. She means well, but she inherited a barely functioning office system and did nothing to fix it. There are some very good people in the DA's office, but the system used by Ms. Duve is outdated. Paperwork submitted by police agencies is routinely lost. It is not uncommon for police officers to submit the same paperwork over and over again, only to have Ms. Duve blame them for not notifying her office to the press.
It seems like every time a high profile case is lost or plea-bargained for a minor sentence, Ms. Duve finds a way to blame the police agency or the judge. Ultimately, as the chief prosecutor, the blame lies with her. Both she and her assistants are so far behind in case preparation that police officers often get one day or less notice to appear in court.
When they do appear, they are not prepared for their testimony by the prosecutor, and they are rarely consulted before plea bargains are arranged. Police officers are often summoned to courts on overtime and then dismissed without testifying after a plea bargain is reached. This costs taxpayers a great deal of money and the plea deals gain very little in return.
The criminal element in St. Lawrence County knows that the DA's office is barely functioning. Criminals brag at their arrest that they will be out of jail in short order and that they will get a “sweet deal” even if they have been arrested many times. Ms. Duve's office does not coordinate well with the probation department and only occasionally takes action to violate the probation status of those arrested over and over in this county.
For all of these reasons, it is time for a change. Mary Rain knows how hard your police officers work. She will work with them, not blame them. She has a plan to reorganize the office to prevent paperwork snafus. The criminal element will fear her office, not support it. Please join me in support of Mary Rain for St. Lawrence County DA Nov. 5.
Travis E. Dann
New York State Police (Retired)