2018 District Attorney Races

As countless stories from right here in Massachusetts and around the country have shown, a District Attorney has a lot of power. Too often, DAs have used that power in favor of mass incarceration and the attendant racial and economic disparities. From overcharging to lobbying against criminal justice reform, DAs have proven themselves to be an obstacle.

But DAs get away with much of what they do because no one is paying attention. Recent elections and public education campaigns have elevated DA races in the public mind and showed the possibilities of what a progressive DA can do. And with a landmark criminal justice reform bill now on the books in Massachusetts, it's important to have DAs who support implementing the law -- and pushing for bolder reforms as well.

Progressive Mass has been working with a coalition of progressive allies around the Commonwealth called Justice for Massachusetts to elect progressive DAs and hold them accountable to their promises.

Congratulations to these candidates, endorsed by the coalition and YOU -- the members of Progressive Massachusetts.

Suffolk County: Rachael Rollins

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Rachael has been a lawyer for over 20 years. She is a former state and federal prosecutor and clerk on the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Rachael was the general counsel of both the MBTA and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Chief Legal Counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority. Rachael currently sits on Attorney General Maura Healey’s Advisory Council on Racial Justice and Equity. She was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to the Judicial Nominating Commission, served as past president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, and served a three-year term on the Boston Bar Association Council. She brings her lived experience as someone whose family has been directly affected by the criminal justice system and is committed to implementing the recently passed Criminal Justice Reform bill, rebuilding the relationship between the DA's office and the community, and ensuring that the lawyers in the DA's office reflect the communities they serve. As the first female general counsel for the MBTA and the first person of color to serve as general counsel of MassDOT, Rachael brings the management experience needed to manage the reform process that will be critical in the Suffolk County DA’s Office.

Read Rachael Rollins's questionnaire here.

 

Middlesex County: Donna Patalano

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Donna Patalano is a nationally recognized leader in legal ethics who has worked as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney. As Chief of Professional Integrity & Ethics in the Suffolk DA’s Office, Donna created the state’s first Conviction Integrity Program. From her time as a prosecutor reviewing cases to be sure that justice had been done, to her work as a defense attorney protecting the rights of people who couldn’t afford an attorney, Donna has developed a unique perspective. As District Attorney, Donna will bring transformative, transparent change to our justice system. She will implement evidence-based reforms that improve safety while restoring integrity and accountability to our courts. She will work to end mass incarceration and eliminate the racial disparities entrenched in our system. And, she will collect and release data to make sure that the programs we invest in are working.

Read Donna Patalano's questionnaire here.

 

Berkshire County: Andrea Harrington

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Andrea Harrington comes from a working class family in Berkshire County and was among the first generation in her family to attend college and then law school. Her criminal law professor’s scholarship focused on the role of prosecutorial discretion in mass incarceration and the particularly devastating effect of bias in the criminal justice system on communities of color. This inspired her work representing convicted death row inmates in their post-conviction appeals in Florida. When Andrea returned home to Massachusetts, her work representing indigent criminal defendants in appellate and trial matters made the urgent need for statewide criminal justice reform very apparent. Over the past fifteen years of legal practice, she has seen the struggles of working families in Berkshire County through her work in family court and in representing employees in discrimination claims. Andrea also serves on the Richmond School Committee and is a co-founder of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus- Berkshire Committee.

Read Andrea Harrington's questionnaire here.

 

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