Our prosecutors aim to do the right thing in each and every case, to seek the truth, and to deliver justice on behalf of the residents of Suffolk County. As part of our steadfast pursuit of justice, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office has taken many steps since January 2018 to reform the criminal justice system, including initiatives to reduce unnecessary incarceration by diverting people from the criminal justice system, to prevent prosecutorial misconduct by adhering to the highest ethical standards, and to rectify wrongful convictions secured by this Office in the past.
In many cases, justice requires the bringing of criminal charges against the offender, a conviction and a sentence of imprisonment in order to protect the good people of Suffolk County. However, in other cases, the District Attorney’s Office may find that justice is better served through an alternative to incarceration. Suffolk County offers several diversion programs in specialty court parts designed to connect low-level offenders who commit crimes due to underlying mental health issues, such as substance use disorder, to treatment rather than prison. These diversion programs include the Suffolk County Veterans Court, Drug Treatment Court, and Mental Health Court. In August 2018, District Attorney Sini and members of the Suffolk County District Court system announced a new diversion program known as the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery and Education Program, or C.A.R.E. Program, which allows defendants suffering from substance use disorders to participate in the drug treatment program in exchange for the dismissal of the pending charges against them in Suffolk County. Click here to learn more about the C.A.R.E. Program.
The Office also strives to obtain justice by ensuring prosecutors comply with all of our ethical and legal obligations. This includes providing defense attorneys with all evidence that is favorable to the defendant, also known as the Brady rule. In March 2018, the District Attorney’s Office adopted a new Voluntary Disclosure Policy that requires prosecutors to provide discoverable materials and evidence to the defense as soon as practicable and on a rolling basis as materials become available. The policy goes above and beyond what is legally required of prosecutors to ensure compliance with all legal and ethical obligations, facilitate early resolution of cases, and encourage defense attorneys to provide timely reciprocal discovery.
In the District Attorney’s Office, the pursuit of justice does not end at the time of conviction. The Office’s Conviction Integrity Bureau, which was formed in January 2018, is responsible for reviewing past convictions, evaluating convicted offenders’ legitimate claims of actual innocence, and remedying wrongful convictions. Click here to learn more about the Conviction Integrity Bureau.
The District Attorney’s Office is committed to ensuring public safety, championing the law, and promoting faith and trust in our law enforcement agencies.