Rice challenged by Sturim for D.A. position
Kathleen Rice, left, the Nassau County District Attorney for the past eight years, is being challenged by Republican Howard Sturim.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, who has held that law enforcement position for eight years, is being challenged in the Nov. 5 election by Great Neck resident Howard Sturim.
In 2005, Rice, a Democrat, defeated 31-year incumbent Denis E. Dillon to become the first female district attorney in Nassau County’s history. Sturim, a Republican, is the principal law clerk to Nassau County Court Judge Alan L. Honorof and has had held that position since 2004.
The function of the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office is to investigate and prosecute violations of state and local criminal statutes occurring within Nassau County. The District Attorney manages a staff of more than 300, which includes 160 lawyers. The winner of the race will receive a four-year term.
What is the most important issue that you believe faces the district attorney’s office in the coming years?
Kathleen Rice: DA’s can’t be focused on just one issue. We’ve got to be aggressive, consistent and effective in prosecuting violent crime. We also have to have a vision for where we want to take the county’s crime-fighting resources when it comes to new challenges and modern threats to our families. On top of that, we’re the integrity guardians of the system and that must coat everything we do. Effective DAs understand all the dimensions of this complex job. Whether it’s violent crime, fraud against taxpayers, corruption, DWI, or reform, we’ve got to do it all. That’s what I believe we’ve done.
Howard Sturim: The most important change that I would make to the District Attorney’s Office is to focus on prosecuting violent predators to the fullest extent of the law. The current administration under Kathleen Rice lets violent offenders get off too easily. In 2012, 67.4% of the violent felony cases (which includes rape, manslaughter, murder, robbery, burglary and illegal gun possession) were negotiated down to misdemeanors, or less. The present administration’s reliance on plea bargaining with violent predators is misplaced, and allows criminals back on the streets without being properly punished for their crimes. My emphasis would be on prosecuting violent predators and getting them off our streets. My priority and seminal issue is to make Nassau County safer so that our residents can live without fear.