Anthony Parisi begins term as Dutchess County district attorney following tight election
A new district attorney has taken the reins in Dutchess County for the first time in 40 years following a bruising campaign and a tight election.
Ahead of his oath of office ceremony at Poughkeepsie's Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center, hundreds stopped to offer encouragement to DA Anthony Parisi, his two show-stealing daughters and his wife, Sinead McLoughlin, who is also a county prosecutor.
According to the Historical Society of New York Courts, there have been just six DAs in Dutchess County since 1951, not including Parisi who is beginning his first four-year term.
"I hope to make really positive changes in the District Attorney's Office," he told News 12, adding that his team is going to prioritize transparency more than the office has in the past. "We also are going to be much more public facing. We are going to push out information to the public regularly on the cases we handle, how we handle them."
Parisi – most recently a prosecutor and previously a public defender – said he will put more attention toward cases of hate crimes and violent crimes in the county's cities (Poughkeepsie and Beacon).
He also said he will put more resources into conviction integrity.
He plans to set up a hotline and online portal to collect tups on past convictions to help determine whether any mistakes were made in those cases and to learn whether anyone has been wrongly convicted in the past.
"New things can be difficult to get off the ground," Parisi, a Democrat said, "but the hope is to really implement intelligence-driven policing and prosecution so that we work smartly to reduce crime."
Despite a contentious and partisan campaign, the split of Democratic and Republican politicians in the room Tuesday seemed about even.
Newly sworn-in Republican Dutchess County Executive Sue Serino cheered for Parisi, as she stood by Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan.
Republican Dutchess County Sheriff Kirk Imperati emceed the event, praised Parisi and pledged to work closely with him.
Parisi said his predecessor William Grady, who fiercely opposed Parisi's candidacy, recently wished him well.
The overall tone was casual, in part thanks to Parisi's two young daughters and his niece, who seemed to be in full form, bouncing around and giggling.
There were jokes, too. retired Dutchess County Judge David Steinberg could not resist, as he was about to administer Parisi's oath.
"This is an important day for the Dutchess County legal community and the community at large," Judge Steinberg told the room. "For every 40 years, we have a new district attorney."