If Preet Bharara goes to Washington, is Janet DiFiore heading to U.S.Attorney?

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WPCNR News & Comment By John F. Bailey. October 5, 2014:

In this boring, uncontested election season with no candidates really addressing the issues, and the prospect of more blather and dither ahead it’s refreshing to have a shocking resignation that opens up the political log jam.

When someone goes down, someone else moves on up.

Last week, Eric Holder, the first African-American Attorney General announced he was stepping down.

NPR reported the names of three persons who might be in line to replace him. One was the relentless crusader, merciless menace to Wall Street insider traders, who has finally more than any U.S. attorney in memory, made white collar criminals and crooked businesspersons sweat and, surprise, actually go to jail.

None other that Preet Bharara.

Bharara  appears to have the prosecutorial record of convictions meaning trouble for the corporate robber barons looting the economy and the taxpayer’s pocket, while evading corporate taxes abroad. Barara knows how to do investigations and put together a case and works effectively with other law enforcement agencies to get the goods.

Besides he has been such a rat dog dick on the guys in the white shirts and bland ties and bellies-over-the-belt set that the establishment has to get him out of New York and kick him upstairs so they can get back to stealing as usual with a kinder, gentler U.S. Attorney.

Besides moving The Preeter up from the Southern District of New York  (Big Crime’s Hometown), frees up a move-up position. Now, can you name a District Attorney that might move into that position?

I suggest Janet DiFiore, who was elected to her third term as Westchester District Attorney last year. since I cannot even name. She has been County D.A. for  nine years now. She needs another job, to open the D.A. ship for an appointment by the Astorino administration who can reward a Republican.

Of course there may be a New York City D.A. candidate, a DiBlasio selection,or Obama may go with one of the other choices,  but no matter what, the U.S. Attorney position in the southern district will be weakened with Bharara’s departure.

DiFiore sounds like a logical political move-up, and she is a Democrat.

Why? Because appointing her puts a woman in a major prosecutorial spotlight. She will inherit many of Preet’s on-going cases, assuring herself of some victories early. Bharara cases usually stick.  She will be able to ease up on some sensitive cases, making the establishment breathe easier if that is what the establishment wants.

Heroin abuse is up in Rockland and the northern Westchester County border but is not apparently as bad in most of the county. Gang activity appears more controlled as I write this because ever since DiFiori held her gang conference among law enforcement parties seven years ago we have not heard much about gang activity. Does this mean gang activity is down?

My point is DiFiore has neither a bad track record or a good one. She is bland. Has not made anyone mad. Just who you want to lower the heat on the big time crooks. And with gambling coming to New York, you definitely want someone in the U.S. Attorney position politically sensitive. You know gambling companies want as little scrutiny as possible. Bharara is anything but, but he is dragging his feet on the State Senate tax evasion scandal.

People I speak to about this are laughing at the suggestion of DiFiore for U.S. Attorney. But they laughed when she ran for District Attorney in Westchester County, too.

You if you are the establishment do not want the U.S. attorney to go after the 20 legislators who were singled out by Governor Cuomo’s commission for tax evasion and false reporting on their income taxes, who just happened to vote in Governor Cuomo’s budget. No connection, of course.

We have been waiting for Preet to pounce on that one, but alas, he may be going to Washington. It does not look like anything is going to come out of the U.S. Attorney’s office on that tax evasion situation by legislators until after the election. Talk about good timing for those scaliwags!

Anyway, it is a thought that with Preet going to Washington…who will replace him in this key position. I do not think DiFiori is right for it. But who is? We were lucky to have Preet going after the corrupt, the profane, the greedy, the snake-oil salespersons while we had him.

Ms. DiFiore’s resume from the Westchester District Attorney website:

District Attorney Janet DiFiore has dedicated her career to public service as both a former Judge and a prosecutor in Westchester County, New York.

Elected as District Attorney in 2005 and re-elected in 2009 and 2013, District Attorney DiFiore is the County’s chief law enforcement officer of Westchester County, New York. Her 238 person office includes 119 Assistant District Attorneys, 34 Investigators and 85 support personnel. Together they prosecute approximately 40,000 cases each year.

District Attorney DiFiore served as an Assistant District Attorney in Westchester County for more than ten years, and as Chief of Narcotics for the last four and a half of those years. As Chief of Narcotics, she coordinated drug enforcement and prosecution efforts within Westchester County on behalf of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Elected as a Judge of the Westchester County Court in 1998 and as a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court in 2002, District Attorney DiFiore presided over hundreds of cases in Westchester County Court, Family Court and the New York State Supreme Court. In 2003, District Attorney DiFiore was appointed by Chief Judge Judith Kaye to serve as the Supervising Judge for the Criminal Courts in the 9th Judicial District, with oversight responsibility of the criminal courts of Westchester, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Putnam Counties. She served as Supervising Judge until May of 2005 when she resigned from the bench in order to run for District Attorney.

District Attorney DiFiore has initiated policies and programs at the District Attorney’s Office that have enhanced prosecutions and improved public safety. In response to the longstanding critical need for more effective coordination among Westchester’s 42 local police departments and county, state and federal law enforcement agencies, District Attorney DiFiore led the development of the Westchester Intelligence Center, which provides technological resources, data analysis and coordination to support these agencies.

Working with partners from County and local government and child advocacy agencies, the District Attorney led the effort to create the Child Fatality Review Team, the Multidisciplinary Team and the Child Advocacy Center. Together, they provide systematic analysis of child fatalities and risks to children’s health and safety, and investigate cases of child abuse through multi-disciplinary teams that achieve the most effective and compassionate results.

The District Attorney was a partner in the creation of Westchester’s Family Justice Center, a comprehensive facility for services for victims of domestic violence and their families. Sharpening the Office’s approach to violent felonies, District Attorney DiFiore established the Violent Felony Screening Protocol, a system of early review of violent felony cases by a Deputy Division Chief to assess the legal and factual issues and seek to enhance the prosecution of such cases.

In 2009, District Attorney DiFiore was appointed by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman to serve as Co-Chair of the New York State Justice Task Force, a permanent body created to examine the causes of wrongful convictions, make recommendations for reform, and monitor the effectiveness of any reform that is implemented. The membership of the Justice Task Force consists of judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement personnel, legal scholars, legislators, executive branch officials, victim advocates, and forensic experts. The Task Force has issued two reports to date, Recommendations Regarding Forensics and the Expansion of the DNA Database and Recommendations for Improving Eyewitness Identifications.

District Attorney DiFiore has served on then-Chief Judge Judith Kaye’s Commission on the Future of Criminal Indigent Defense Services and Commission on Drugs and Courts. In addition, she has served as the New York State Unified Court System’s Coordinator for Access to Justice Initiatives for the 9th Judicial District, and as a member of the Office of Court Administration’s Committee on Criminal Jury Instructions, the Task Force on the Future of Probation in New York State and the New York State Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention Board.

District Attorney DiFiore serves on numerous boards that deal with criminal justice issues in Westchester County, including the Westchester County Criminal Justice Advisory Board, the Westchester County Domestic Violence Council, the Task Force on the Future of Probation in New York State, the CLUSTER/Restorative Justice Advisory Board and previously, the Advisory Board of the Westchester Holocaust Commission’s Juvenile Offender Program.

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently named her as a member of the Commission on Youth, Public Safety & Justice.

In July, 2011, the District Attorney was installed as President of the District Attorney’s Association of the State of New York.

She is a member of the National District Attorney’s Association and a Co-Chair of the Grievances/Ethics Committee of the Westchester Women’s Bar Association. District Attorney DiFiore also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Columbian Lawyers Association of Westchester County and the New York State Bar Association Task Force on Wrongful Convictions. She is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Westchester Italian Cultural Center and on the Board of Directors of the Westchester Children’s Museum. District Attorney DiFiore is on the Board of Visitors at Pace University School of Law and on the Advisory Council of Mercy College School of Social and Behavioral Science. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Westchester Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center, and is a member of the Greyston Foundation’s Wisdom Council. She is an advisory group member of the New York State-Federal Council.

Recent honors include in 2011 the Distinguished Alumnae Award from the Women’s Law Society of St. John’s Law School and in 2010, the “Spirit of Giving” Community Service Award at the Lois Bronz Children’s Center’s Annual Gala and the Star of Hope Award from the Westchester Region of Hadassah.

District Attorney DiFiore has lectured, both in New York and abroad, to judges and lawyers about domestic violence, the effects of domestic violence on children, ethics, and problem-solving courts and effective case management techniques.

She is a lifelong Westchester County resident and is married to Dennis E. Glazer, a partner at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell. They have three children.




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