POTSDAM Mary E. Rain, Republican candidate for St. Lawrence County district attorney, launched what she called her accountability tour Thursday evening with a bang.
Speaking in front of a half-dozen supporters with campaign signs outside the Potsdam Civic Center, Ms. Rain contended that District Attorney Nicole M. Duve has made hundreds of mistakes during her eight years as the countys lead prosecutor. The challenger displayed a book she said was filled with cases that had been dismissed. If youve had enough, vote Rain, she said.
Ms. Duve has let go so many felony offenders that it affects justice here in St. Lawrence County, and its one of the big reasons that Im running, Ms. Rain said.
We had a case here in Potsdam where a young lady was raped. The criminal was charged with rape in the first degree; its a B violent felony, she said. That person could have faced up to 25 years in state prison. It was plea-bargained down to a misdemeanor, a misdemeanor where the man got a $250 fine. Theres something wrong with that picture.
Ms. Rain also spoke of a rape case in which the victim was 14 years old, and Ms. Duve filed a motion to concur with the defenses motion seeking to dismiss the charges. She said the incumbent claimed police had not given her the paperwork, while police had proof of providing the paperwork.
The news conference marked Ms. Rains second full-fledged assault on the incumbents record in the past two weeks. Last week she accused Ms. Duve of incompetence, ineffectiveness and disorganization, which, she maintained, has allowed violent felony offenders to walk the streets.
Ms. Rain said last week that she wants to fast-track felonies, upgrade technology to improve results and improve interagency cooperation. She said she would ensure timely prosecutions by seeking the earliest possible court proceeding for all felony crimes, which she called the biggest problem of Ms. Duves administration.
Ms. Rains news conference Thursday night drew the attention of Stephen M. Whelley, the father of Donald J.W. Whelley, the 21-year-old Clarkson University sophomore lacrosse player who was attacked in the early morning hours of Aug. 24.
My biggest concern is that as this thing moves forward, my case in particular, I just noticed the lack of resources and not that its been a lack of activity, but resources, which is a common theme in a lot of counties, that hampers the position, Mr. Whelley said.
He stressed that his attendance at the event was not an endorsement. Im more concerned, as you are, to discourage violence, he said to Ms. Rain, and I want to hear what you have to say about it. Again, Im not voting one way or the other, but I have a great deal of respect for the position you seek.
Ms. Rain has said she has three decades of experience as a police officer, prosecutor and defense attorney. She also served briefly as St. Lawrence Countys chief public defender four years ago.
In response to her criticism, Ms. Duve said that her opponent was making broad accusations without having facts. Hundreds of times sounds very exaggerated. Without specifics, her words are meaningless.
Ms. Rain said she plans to visit every part of the county during her tour to highlight the injustices that have occurred.
Asked about the proposition of a debate, Ms. Rain said she would love to, while Ms. Duve said she would have no problem with it.
Voting for the district attorney position will take place Nov. 5.