District Attorney of Richmond County (New York)

The Richmond County District Attorney is the elected district attorney for Richmond County, coterminous with the Borough of Staten Island, in New York City. The office is responsible for the prosecution of violations of New York state laws. (Violations of federal law in Richmond County are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York). The current District Attorney is Michael McMahon.

History

In a legislative act of February 12, 1796, New York State was divided into seven districts, each with its own Assistant Attorney General. Richmond County was part of the First District, which also included Kings, Queens, Suffolk, and Westchester counties. At that time, Queens County included much of present-day Nassau County, and Westchester County included present-day Bronx County. The Assistant Attorney General was renamed District Attorney on April 4, 1801, and New York County was added to the First District. Westchester was separated from the First District in 1813, and New York County was separated in 1815. The 13 districts that existed were divided so that each county became its own district by a law passed on April 21, 1818.[1][2][3][4]

Until 1822, the district attorney was appointed by the Council of Appointment, and held the office "during the Council's pleasure", meaning that there was no defined term of office. Under the provisions of the New York State Constitution of 1821, the D.A. was appointed to a three-year term by the County Court, and under the provisions of the Constitution of 1846, the office became elective by popular ballot.

In case of a vacancy, the Governor of New York appoints an interim district attorney who serves until a successor is elected at the next annual election.[5] The term was increased to four years for the Richmond County District Attorney in 1937.[6]

List of District Attorneys

District Attorney Dates in Office Party Notes
Nathaniel Lawrence February 16, 1796 – July 15, 1797 Dem.-Rep.

died[4][7]

vacant July 15, 1797 - January 16, 1798
Cadwallader D. Colden January 16, 1798 – August 19, 1801 Federalist

[4][7]

Richard Riker August 19, 1801 – February 13, 1810 Dem.-Rep.

[2][4][7]

Cadwallader D. Colden February 13, 1810 – February 19, 1811 Federalist

[2][4][7]

Richard Riker February 19, 1811 – March 5, 1813 Dem.-Rep.

[2][4][7]

Barent Gardenier March 5, 1813 – April 8, 1815 Federalist

[2][4][7]

Thomas S. Lester April 8, 1815 – June 11, 1818 ?

[2][4][7]

George Metcalfe June 11, 1818 ?

[4][8][9][10]

Henry B. Metcalfe 1826 ?

[4][8][9][11]

Thomas S. Kingsland 1833 ?

[4][8][9]

George Catlin[12] 1839 ?

[4][8][9]

Roderick N. Morrison 1840 ?

[4][8][9]

Lot C. Clark[13] 1841 – 1849 ?
George Catlin November 28, 1849 ?

[4][8][9]

George White January 1, 1851 – December 31, 1853 ?
Alfred De Groot January 1, 1854 – December 31, 1859 ?
Abraham W. Winant January 1, 1860 – December 31, 1865 ?
John H. Hedley January 1, 1866 – December 31, 1871 ?
Sidney Fuller Rawson January 1, 1872 – December 31, 1874 Democratic
  • elected to a three-year term[8][9]
  • did not run for re-election[16]
John Croak[17] January 1, 1875 – December 31, 1880 Democratic
George Gallagher January 1, 1881 – December 31, 1889 Democratic
  • elected to three three-year terms[8][20][21][22][23]
  • lost the nomination to Fitzgerald at the county Democratic convention[24]
Thomas W. Fitzgerald January 1, 1890 – December 31, 1895 Democratic
George M. Pinney, Jr.[27] January 1, 1896 – December 31, 1898 Republican
  • elected to a three-year term[28]
Edward Sidney Rawson[29] January 1, 1899 – December 31, 1904 Democratic
John J. Kenney[33] January 1, 1905 – December 31, 1907 Democratic
  • elected to a three-year term[34]
Samuel H. Evins January 1, 1908 – December 31, 1910 Democratic
  • elected to a three-year term[35]
Albert C. Fach January 1, 1911 – December 31, 1919 Democratic
  • elected to three three-year terms[36][37]
  • did not run for re-election[38]
Joseph H. Maloy[39] January 1, 1920 – January 1, 1924 Democratic
  • elected to two three-year terms[40][41][39]
  • resigned to become a judge on the Court of Special Sessions[42]
? January 1, 1924 – February 9, 1924 (acting)
Albert C. Fach February 9, 1924 – December 31, 1925 (interim)
January 1, 1926 – December 31, 1931
Democratic
  • appointed by Governor Al Smith for the remainder of the year[42]
  • elected to the remainder of Maloy’s term[43]
  • elected to two three-year terms[44][45]
Thomas J. Walsh[46] January 1, 1932 – December 30, 1936 Democratic
  • elected to two three-year terms[47][48]
  • resigned to accept the seat as a municipal court judge to which he had been elected in November[49]
? December 31, 1936 – January 6, 1937 (acting)
Frank H. Innes[50] January 7, 1937 – December 31, 1937 (interim)
January 1, 1938 – December 31, 1941
Democratic
Farrell M. Kane January 1, 1942 – August 4, 1947 Democratic
  • elected to a four-year term, then to a four-year term[54][55]
  • resigned to accept a nomination to in the primary election for City Court Judge[56]
Herman Methfessel[57] August 4, 1947 – August 13, 1947 (acting) Democratic
  • became acting district attorney upon Kane’s resignation[56]
Robert E. Johnson August 13, 1947 – December 31, 1947 (interim) Republican
  • appointed by Governor Dewey to serve the remainder of the year[58]
  • lost election to Methfessel[59]
Herman Methfessel January 1, 1948 – December 31, 1951 Democratic
  • elected to a four-year term[59]
  • lost election to Simonson[60][61]
Sidney O. Simonson January 1, 1952 – December 31, 1955 Republican-Liberal
  • elected to a four-year term over Methfessel[60][61]
  • lost election to Braisted[62]
John M. Braisted Jr.[63] January 1, 1956 – December 31, 1975 Democratic-Liberal
Thomas R. Sullivan January 1, 1976 – November 1982 Democratic-Conservative
  • elected to two three-year term[69][70]
  • resigned to run for a seat as a New York Supreme Court justice[71]
William L. Murphy[72] November 1982 – March 1983 (acting)
March 1983 – December 31, 1983 (interim)
January 1, 1984 – December 31, 2003
Democratic-Conservative
  • became acting district attorney upon Sullivan’s resignation
  • appointed by Governor Mario M. Cuomo for the remainder of Sullivan’s term[72]
  • elected to five four-year terms[73][74][75][76]
  • retired, did not run for re-election[77]
Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. January 1, 2004 – May 12, 2015 Republican
  • elected to three four-year terms[77][78][79]
  • resigned after winning a special election for an open congressional seat[80]
Daniel L. Master, Jr. May 12, 2015 – December 31, 2015 (acting) Republican
  • became acting district attorney after Donovan’s resignation[81][82]
Michael McMahon January 1, 2016 – current Democratic
  • elected to a four-year term[83]

References

  1. Werner, Edgar A. (1891). Civil List and Constitutional History of the Colony and State of New York. Albany, N.Y.: Weed, Parsons, and Company. pp. 553–563. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  2. Chester, Alden (1911). Legal and Judicial History of New York, Volume 3. New York, N.Y.: National Americana Society. p. 85. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  3. The New York Civil List compiled by Franklin Benjamin Hough (pp. 366ff and 379; Weed, Parsons and Co., 1858).
  4. Civil List and Forms of Government of the Colony and State of New York: Containing Notes on the Various Governmental Organizations; List of the Principal Colonial, State and County Officers, and the Congressional Delegations and Presidential Electors, with the Votes of the Electoral Colleges and the Whole, Arranged in Constitutional Periods. Albany, N.Y.: Weed, Parsons and Company. 1867. pp. 202–203, 361, and 532. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  5. Courts and Lawyers of New York: A History, 1609 -1925 by Alden Chester & Edwin Melvin Williams (The American Historical Society, 1935, vol. 1, p. 964).
  6. "21 More Measures Are Signed by Lehman; One Extends Richmond Prosecutor's Term". New York Times. May 18, 1937. p. 2. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  7. Werner (1891), p. 553.
  8. Chester (1911), p. 103.
  9. Werner (1891), p. 560.
  10. Morris, Ira K. (1900). Morris's Memorial History of Staten Island, volume 2. Staten Island, N.Y.: published by the author. pp. 330–331. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  11. Morris (1900), p. 331.
  12. "Died". New York Times. April 10, 1886. p. 5. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  13. "Obituary — Lot C. Clark". New York Times. February 12, 1880. p. 2. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  14. "State Election — The Latest Returns — Hards vs. Softs — Popular Vote — Richmond County — District Attorney". New York Times. November 11, 1853. p. 8. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
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  16. Richmond Borough Association of Women Teachers (1909). Staten Island and Staten Islanders. New York, N.Y.: Grafton Press. pp. 74–75. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  17. "John Croak Dies at 82, Former Magistrate — Many State, County and City Officials Attend Funeral at Port Richmond, S.I." New York Times. September 3, 1930. p. 27. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
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  19. Morris (1900), p. 335.
  20. "The Vote in Richmond County". New York Times. November 4, 1880. p. 8. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  21. "Richmond County's Full Vote". New York Times. November 7, 1883. p. 1. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  22. "Richmond County Officers". New York Times. November 7, 1883. p. 4. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  23. "Richmond County Vote". New York Times. November 3, 1886. p. 2. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  24. "Richmond's Candidates — Democratic County Convention at Stapleton, S.I." New York Times. October 30, 1889. p. 8. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  25. Prominent Men of Staten Island. New York, N.Y.: A.V. Hubbell. 1893. pp. 14–15. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  26. "Richmond Beats Its Record — The Largest Majorities for the Whole Ticket in Its History". New York Times. November 10, 1892. p. 8. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  27. "George M. Pinney, Lawyer". New York Times. July 20, 1921. p. 12. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  28. "G.M. Pinney District Attorney". New York Times. November 6, 1895. p. 2. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  29. "Obituary Notes — Edward Sidney Rawson". New York Times. January 5, 1916. p. 13. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  30. Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac — 1899. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 1899. p. 523. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  31. Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac — 1902. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 1902. p. 543. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  32. Morris (1900), p. 339.
  33. "Ex-District Attorney John J. Kenney". New York Times. August 16, 1912. p. 9. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  34. Manual for the Use of the Legislature of the State of New York — 1907. Albany, N.Y.: J.B. Lyon. 1907. p. 643. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  35. "Tammany Wins; M'Carren Loses — Foley Elected Sheriff of New York County by 27,223 Over Ihmsen — Fusion Ticket Beaten — The Republicans Have Carried Kings with the Loss of Two Candidates — Clarke District Attorney — Ran Far Ahead of His Ticket and Is Elected by 18,315 — Whitman Beaten Here — Gerard Wins a Supreme Court Justiceship — Murphy Calls Result "Most Gratifying"". New York Times. November 6, 1907. p. 1. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  36. "Nothing to Say, Says Ward — But the Westchester Leader Points Out That Entire County Ticket Won — Fach District Attorney of Richmond". New York Times. November 9, 1910. p. 5. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  37. "Nassau Co. Republican — Treasurer the Only Office Captured by Democrats — Fach Re-Elected in Richmond". New York Times. November 5, 1913. p. 1. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  38. "To Fight Regulars in Party Primaries — Democratic Insurgents Will Bring Out Numerous Contests Throughout the City — Few Republican Fights — Kings County Races Arouse Interest — Complete List of Candidates in the Field". New York Times. August 10, 1919. p. E2. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  39. "Justice J.H. Maloy Dies in Hospital — Special Sessions Jurist and Ex-District Attorney of Richmond — Succumbs at 35 Years — Prominent in Civic Life — He Was One of the Youngest Justices to Sit on the Bench of Special Sessions". New York Times. September 7, 1924. p. 31. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  40. "Elected in the City". New York Times. November 5, 1919. p. 1. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  41. "Smith Carries in Whole City Ticket — His Plurality in Town 464,525, and All Democratic Candidates Elected With Him — Tammany Gets Surrogate — Cohalan Beaten — Big Changes in the Delegations to Congress and Legislature". New York Times. November 8, 1922. p. 1. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  42. "Albert Fach Takes Office — Judge Tiernan Administers Oath to New District Attorney". New York Times. February 10, 1924. p. 4. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  43. "Coolidge Wins, 357 to Davis's 136; La Follette Carries Wisconsin; Smith Beats Roosevelt by 140,000 — Coolidge and Smith Carry This City — The President's Plurality About 130,000 and the Governor's About 500,000 — La Follette Vote 250,000 — Coolidge Wins in Every Borough — Democrats Elect All Local Officers". New York Times. November 5, 1924. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  44. "Supreme Court Justices, District Attorneys, City Court Justice, Kings Surrogate — Officials Elected". New York Times. November 4, 1925. p. 3. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  45. "Hoover Carries Illinois, Sweeping in the State — Smith Wins in Chicago But His Republican Rival Gets Big Down-State Vote — Iowa Strong for Hoover — Nebraska Puts Republican in Lead and His Victory Seems Certain —Michigan Also Republican —Hoover Sweeps Ohio by a Big Majority Entire State Ticket Elected". New York Times. November 7, 1928. p. 3. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  46. "Judge T.J. Walsh, 63, of Richmond County". New York Times. October 10, 1955. p. 27. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  47. "Smith is Silent on Forestry Vote — But Friends Note That Majority for the Amendment Was Not Overwhelming — Emphasize Macy Backing — Roosevelt, Apparently Elated Over Outcome of Clash With Predecessor, Also Declines to Comment". New York Times. November 5, 1931. p. 4. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  48. "Elected Tables Showing the Results of the Election in New York City and State". New York Times. November 7, 1934. p. 6. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  49. "T.J. Walsh Sworn In as Municipal Justice — Retires as Richmond District Attorney to Preside in Second District Court". New York Times. December 31, 1936. p. 15. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  50. "Frank Innes Dies; Legal Leader, 79 — Dean of Richmond County Bar, Ex-Prosecutor, Headed Loan Group for 34 Terms". New York Times. April 8, 1947. p. 27. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  51. "F.H. Innes is Named to Richmond Post — Dean of County Bar, a Former Assistant District Attorney, Becomes Prosecutor". New York Times. January 2, 1937. p. 4. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  52. "F.H. Innes Takes Office — New Staten Island District Attorney Sworn After Three Delays". New York Times. January 8, 1937. p. 21. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  53. "Republicans Gain in State; $40,000,000 Bond Issue Wins; Council Count Bogs Down — Blow to Machines — Revolt in Tammany Is Likely — Flynn, Kelly Make Poor Showing — Four Years for Governor — Term of the Assembly Also is Lengthened — Republicans Rule Convention". New York Times. November 4, 1937. p. 1. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  54. "Hecht and Null Named to Bench — Supreme Court Candidates of Fusion Win in the First Judicial District — Kleinfeld is Far Ahead — Judge Donnellan Re-elected — Other Results in Vote for the Judiciary". New York Times. November 5, 1941. p. 17. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  55. "Officials Elected". New York Times. November 7, 1945. p. 4. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  56. "Prosecutor Resigns — Dewey Will Appoint Successor to Kane in Richmond". New York Times. August 5, 1947. p. 2. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  57. "Herman Methfessel, 62, Dead; Ex-Richmond District Attorney". New York Times. July 9, 1963. p. 31. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  58. "R.E. Johnson Named as Successor to Kane". New York Times. Associated Press. August 14, 1947. p. 3. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  59. Hagerty, James A. (November 5, 1947). "Minor Parties Lose — Law Condemned by Foes as Aid to Communists in Council is Killed — Rabin Defeats Lumbard — Democratic-Liberal Choice for the Bench Wins — Rains Retard Balloting". New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  60. Conklin, William R. (November 7, 1951). "Methfessel Loses; Queens Picks Lundy — Simonson Wins in Richmond Landslide — Quinn Defeats Herz by 311 Votes". New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  61. "Final Results of Voting in the City — Vote for Council President — City Summary — Queens Borough President — Queens District Attorney — Richmond District Attorney — Constitutional Amendments — State Assembly". New York Times. November 8, 1951. p. 24. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  62. Egan, Leo (November 9, 1955). "Democrats in City Sweep; Highways and Dam Beaten; Jersey G.O.P. Margin is Cut — O'Connor Winner — Takes Queens Contest — Republicans Retain Suburban Power". New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  63. Pace, Eric (December 17, 1997). "John Braisted Jr., 90, Lawyer And Staten Island Prosecutor". New York Times. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  64. Hailey, Foster (November 4, 1959). "Dollinger Victor in Bronx Contest — Democrat Gets Big Vote for Prosecutor — Braisted Wins in Richmond". New York Times. p. 19. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  65. Hunt, Richard P. (November 6, 1963). "Vote Light Here — Cariello, O'Connor and Dollinger Elected — Amendments Pass — Off-Track Vote — City Summary". New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  66. Ronan, Thomas P. (November 8, 1967). "Re-Election Won by 3 Prosecutors — Dollinger, Mackell, Braisted Score Easy Victories". New York Times. p. 31. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  67. Perlmutter, Emanuel (April 3, 1975). "Staten Island District Attorney Retiring Dec. 31". New York Times. p. 33. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  68. Carroll, Maurice (November 3, 1975). "Women's Rights and City Charter Dominate Ballot — Campaigning at Last Minute Aims at State Amendment and Change in Rule Here — Election is Tomorrow — Jersey Assembly Is at Stake Connecticut Will Vote in Town and City Races". New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  69. "Results of Voting in the City and Suburbs — District Attorneys". New York Times. November 6, 1975. p. 33. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  70. "Results of Tuesday's Voting in New York City and Metropolitan Area Contests — Judicial and Other New York City Races". New York Times. November 8, 1979. p. 32. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  71. "New York Supreme Court". New York Times. November 4, 1983. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  72. Fahim, Kareem (June 14, 2010). "William L. Murphy, Ex-Prosecutor on Staten Island, Dies at 65". New York Times. p. A21. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  73. "Vote Totals for the Elections in the New York Area and New Jersey — New York — Staten Island District Attorney". New York Times. November 10, 1983. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  74. Lynn, Frank (November 4, 1983). "Democrats Capture Top Posts In Suffolk, Erie and Monroe — Sweep All 44 Races in New York CIty, But Lose in Nassau". New York Times. p. 4.
  75. Fisher, Ian. "Election 1995: The Overview — Molinari Loses Race for District Attorney on Staten Island". New York Times. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  76. Herszenhorn, David M. (November 3, 1999). "The 1999 Elections: District Attorneys — 3 Democratic Incumbents Handily Rebuff Challengers". New York Times. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  77. Krug, Nora (November 7, 2007). "The 2003 Election — Donovan to Be Staten Island Prosecutor". New York Times. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  78. Hicks, Jonathan P. (November 7, 2007). "Staten Island District Attorney Is Re-elected in One of City's Few Contested Races". New York Times. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  79. Kaplan (November 9, 2011). "Bellone, a Democrat, Elected Suffolk Executive". New York Times. p. A29. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  80. "Dan Donovan Takes Oath of Office in Congress". silive.com. Staten Island Advance. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  81. "Chief ADA Daniel L. Master, Jr. Sworn In As Acting District Attorney" (PDF). Office of the District Attorney of Richmond County. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 18, 2015. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  82. Stack, Liam (June 12, 2015). "12 Held as Police Break Up Staten Island Heroin Ring". New York Times. p. A25. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  83. Burns, Alexander (November 4, 2015). "Michael McMahon, Ex-Congressman, Is Elected Staten Island District Attorney". New York Times. p. A26. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
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