No faking experience; Caccaviello has it

Posted

To the editor:

Supporters claim Andrea Harrington's legal experience is adequate to qualify her to be district attorney. Albert B. Harper's recent letter to the Eagle demonstrates both a lack of insight into the skills needed to be a district attorney and a willingness to misrepresent the truth among her supporters.

Criminal defense work is vastly different from prosecution work; a defense attorney is tasked with zealous advocacy on behalf of their client and only their client. Prosecutors are constitutional officers responsible the fair administration of justice. Under the law, prosecutors have special ethical obligations that defense attorneys do not. For example, prosecutors are obligated to disclose evidence damaging to their case while defense attorneys can hide such evidence. Judith Knight, unlike Harrington, has worked in both positions and knows that "criminal defense lawyers can change sides from defense to prosecuting instantaneously" is not true in either theory or practice.

Appellate experience is crucial to be an effective DA. Again, Harper takes broad liberties with the truth: "Attorney Caccaviello has no or little experience in our highest courts". Caccaviello has appeared on 54 cases in front of the Massachusetts Appeals Court and the Supreme Judicial Court. Harper is not entitled to his own facts.

"Harrington has extensive experience in our district courts " is another falsehood. As the former chief district court prosecutor for Berkshire County, I know that this is untrue based upon my own observations. Harrington was a part time court-appointed defense attorney who has tried a total of eight cases in our district courts. During a jury trial in 2011, she stated to Judge Vrabel: "Judge, I would like to make a motion for a mistrial based on my ineffective assistance of counsel. This is my first trial as an attorney. And there were just things that I did not anticipate." (TT 1-84). The jury convicted her client of a felony and her client went to jail. If elected DA, will Harrington's ineffectiveness endanger murder, rape, robbery, and abuse cases due to things that she "did not anticipate"?

Harper is correct — the Sept. 4 election does really matter. Harrington's experience may be nuanced and varied, but the suggestion that it outweighs Paul Caccaviello's where it counts is plainly wrong and frankly dangerous. Political spin and falsehoods can have serious consequences for the citizens of Berkshire county. Harrington cannot fake experience.

Please vote Paul Caccaviello for district attorney on Sept. 4.

Kelly Mulcahy Kemp,

North Adams

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