Sam Sutter era begins tomorrow... | MassCops

Sam Sutter era begins tomorrow...

Discussion in 'Politics & Law Enforcement' started by New Hire, Jan 4, 2007.

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  1. New Hire

    New Hire MassCops Member

    One of his newly appointed supervisors brought the fresh, young ADA's around the court house today for a meet & greet.

    Should be interesting to see all the new faces @ first call of the pre-trial list tomorrow morning....
  2. 94c

    94c Subscribing Member

    He's already made some bad decisions on who he retained and who he let go.
  3. kwflatbed

    kwflatbed MassCops Angel Staff Member

    Swearing off gun violence

    As he takes oath, DA Sutter promises a new day
    By Jack Spillane, Standard-Times staff writer


    FALL RIVER — Minutes after being sworn in as the new district attorney of Bristol County yesterday, Sam Sutter pledged to work to sharply reduce the prevalence of local gun violence.
    "Gun violence is the preeminent issue in public safety at this time in our nation's history — countywide, statewide, nationwide" he said.
    Speaking passionately to a Fall River courtroom packed with more than 300 friends, family and supporters, Mr. Sutter proposed fighting gun violence with the same approach that he said has been successful with drunk driving: public outcry, tougher legislation and more aggressive policing.
    As soon as possible, he will propose legislation that will make the minimum penalty for any attack involving a firearm 10 years in prison, and the maximum life in prison.
    "The District Attorney's Office will be different, dramatically different, about gun violence," he said.
    Since the assassination 39 years ago of Robert F. Kennedy (whom Mr. Sutter described as a longtime personal hero), nothing has reduced the amount of gun violence, he said. Yet during the same period, highway fatalities involving drunk driving have been reduced from 50,000 per year to roughly 14,000, he said.
    "I firmly believe we can do the exact same thing with gun violence and we can do it with the exact same prescription," he said.
    The difference is the longer sentences and tougher enforcement (such as roadblocks in the case of drunken driving), he said.
    "We have to make many more individuals afraid to use their guns the same way we have made many more people afraid to drink and drive," he said.
    Mr. Sutter's proposal on gun violence was one of three initiatives announced by the new district attorney yesterday.
    The other two involved the conduct of the Bristol County District Attorney's Office itself.
    First, the office will become "very aggressive about fighting crime," Mr. Sutter said.
    "We're not going to wait and sit back and wait for the cases to be brought to us by the police," he said.
    The office will work closely with the 23 state police troopers assigned to Bristol County; the local police departments; and federal and county law enforcement officials, he said.
    He described an approach that seemed to contrast with outgoing District Attorney Paul F. Walsh Jr.'s frequent emphasis on building solid cases before prosecuting.
    Mr. Sutter directly addressed those he called the "worst criminals in our county: the organized gang leaders, the major drug dealers, the illegal gun dealers, the repeat violent offenders."
    "We're not going to wait for you to commit crimes with a trail of clear evidence; we're going after you," he said. "And when you are arrested, you are going to be prosecuted with renewed fervor."
    Mr. Sutter's other initiative involved the relationship of the District Attorney's Office with the general public.
    He said he believes two "perceptions" are hurting the office's spirit: first, that it is "remote and hard to reach, like a statue on West Island." And second, that "those who have a connection to the District Attorney's Office get treated differently when they are charged with a crime."
    Those perceptions, Mr. Sutter said, can be changed by the following practices: requiring all the assistant district attorneys to participate as volunteers in community affairs programs; his holding open office hours at least once a month in each area of the county; his answering journalists' questions "candidly and forthrightly"; and having the entire district attorney's staff deal with "every single person we come into contact with, with sincerity and honesty."
    Mr. Sutter's swearing-in — by Dartmouth resident and chief justice of the state Appeals Court Phillip Rapoza — was part philosophical speech, part family celebration and part rousing call to a renewed commitment to fighting crime.
    The first inauguration of a new district attorney in Bristol County in 16 years, the ceremony featured speaking roles for the mayors of the county's four cities: Scott Lang of New Bedford; Edward Lambert of Fall River; Robert Nunes of Taunton and Kevin Dumas of Attleboro.
    In attendance were many local police chiefs, state troopers, Sheriff Tom Hodgson, state representatives, city councilors, community activists and political supporters of Mr. Sutter's recent campaign.
    Mayor Lang said Mr. Sutter brings "determination and energy" to his office that will serve him well in meeting the "difficult" responsibility of pursuing justice and helping protect citizens.
    Mr. Lang — a first-term New Bedford mayor who has emphasized the importance of providing all citizens with equal access to government — also said Mr. Sutter has a responsibility to set "a standard of equal justice for all."
    "No crime or criminal enterprise will be ignored or tolerated, regardless of the individual, the family, or the neighborhood that suffered the criminal act," he said. "(Mr. Sutter) understands that a criminal act is an affront to society as a whole."
    District Attorney Walsh had been criticized by some for favoring the politically connected in his pursuit of justice.
    Mayor Lang also called for all citizens to become involved in fighting crime, including by engaging youth positively; teaching nonviolence; and working together for public safety.
    "With the swearing in of Sam Sutter, let's mark the beginning of an era of collective responsibility to each other and our communities," he said.
    A strong family theme to yesterday's inauguration was represented by the more than 20 Sutter relatives who attended, some traveling from as far away as Louisiana and Florida.
    In both Mr. Sutter's remarks and those of his sister-in-law, attorney Julianne Feliz Kidd (who served as master of ceremonies for the inauguration), the family theme was spotlighted.
    Ms. Feliz Kidd outlined family anecdotes about Mr. Sutter's personal characteristics, including his fondness for debating virtually anyone; his time discussing sports with his sons and re-reading stories to his daughter; his love of watching sports at local sports bars; and his belief that competition builds character.
    "Surely his best trait is his love of family," Ms. Feliz Kidd said.
    "We're all so proud of you, Sam. In Portuguese, we say, 'Que Nos Senhor, que bem saude,' "which means "May God bless you."
    In wrapping up his own remarks, Mr. Sutter shared a final family anecdote meant to inspire.
    He told about his cousin Cliff's son, Ford Sutter, a high school runner.
    The young Mr. Sutter over the last four years has overcome the loss of a leg to cancer, and is now swimming with an artificial leg and working his way toward competing in a triathlon.
    "That is the kind of 'can do' spirit that I want to bring to the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, Mr. Sutter said. "So I say to all of my assistants and all of you, let's roll up our sleeves and get started."

    Contact Jack Spillane
    at [email protected]
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