From the Law Offices of Robert D. Sullivan, Jr.
It is truly a sad day when I feel ethically obligated to call for the resignation of Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington. However, I feel compelled to do so after listening to members of the bar on both sides of the aisle of the criminal justice system, among countless residents of Berkshire County. DA Harrington has recently done something, which in light of her previous unethical behavior, requires me to speak out. Specifically, The DA has written an ex parte letter to the RAJ (Regional Administrative Judge) calling for the removal of District Court Judge Jennifer Tyne. Not only does this run afoul of the ethical rules regarding ex parte communications, especially on substantive issues, but it is an attack on the system through completely improper channels. For the DA, who ran in part on the rights of women involved in domestic violence, to seek the removal of the single female District Court judge that regularly sits in Berkshire County, is appalling. Judge Tyne is a fair and impartial jurist, who will hold any attorney accountable for not being prepared or not performing to the high standards of the practice of law, regardless of gender and race. No rational human being supports domestic violence, but this attack on Judge Tyne is completely inappropriate substantively and ethically. This comes just a month after DA Harrington decided to send an ex parte email to the current sitting Superior Court Justice, again afoul of the ethical rules of professional conduct. She even had the audacity to request a personal meeting with said judge. In light of the troubling news during her short tenure as District Attorney, including driving unlicensed and driving the wrong way down a one-way street, her firing of her public records officer because the public records officer wanted to follow the law and not hide public information that the DA did not wish to become public, and her attempt to bribe a member of the office with a severance package in exchange for the signing of a non-disclosure agreement, I cannot sit by idly any further. Does the law not apply to the District Attorney? My colleagues on the defense bar and even within the prosecutors office do not feel comfortable issuing a statement on these issues because their careers and family require them to remain quiet. I don’t have that fear. I will not remain quiet any longer, and on behalf of many attorneys and residents of Berkshire County I believe DA Harrington has violated the ethical rules of the practice of law, and has violated her oath of office. As a longtime practitioner in Berkshire County, as both a prosecutor and a defense lawyer, I am compelled to call for her resignation. The Office of the District Attorney is political in that it is an elected position, however the work of a District Attorney should never be political. The time has come for the residents of Berkshire County to be represented by an ethical and dedicated prosecutor, not someone who runs afoul of the rules to gain political advantage. I remind my fellow friends and colleagues that the only case ever tried by DA Harrington was lost, and she prayed for relief from the court that the Defendant, whom she represented, was the victim of ineffective assistance of counsel, an attack on her own ability to effectively litigate. The time has come for new leadership in the DA’s office, and whomever that may be will have my support.

Amanda Burke can be reached at, on Twitter @amandaburkec and 413-496-6296.