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District Attorney

Community Prosecution Program

     District Attorney Hoovler has committed himself and his Office to a program of community prosecution, designed to open lines of communication between the District Attorney’s Office and the public. Through better communication, the District Attorney hopes to learn more about problems of crime in Orange County’s communities, and also about how the Office and communities might work together to try to solve those problems. The community prosecution program involves reaching out to community groups, such as municipal boards, police departments, school districts, anti-drug coalitions, and others, and seeking the input of those groups into crime issues and possible solutions to those issues. The approach is designed to be proactive, attempting to get out ahead of the causes of crimes in our communities, in order to remedy those causes, before they result in crime. As of February, 2016, representatives of the District Attorney’s Special Projects and Community Affairs Bureau have participated in nearly 400 meetings and events with community leaders and groups, in an effort to solicit their input into community prosecution strategies.

     Community Advisory Board: As part of his community prosecution efforts, District Attorney Hoovler established the Community Advisory Board during the transition between his election in November, 2013 and his swearing-in on December 31, 2013. The Community Advisory Board is made up of a number of community leaders and representatives, and is designed to provide the District Attorney with advice on how a community prosecution program might work in Orange County. The Community Advisory Board is made up of the following:            
 

Chairperson       
     
KellyAnn Kostyal-Larrier   Safe Homes of Orange County
     
Members    
     
Chief Arnold Amthor   Town of Montgomery Police Department
Chief Dominick Blasko   Town of Crawford Police Department
Patricia Bodnar   Orange County Resident
Leah Canton   Orange County Assistant District Attorney
Sgt. Keith Conroy   Orange County Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association  
Darlene De Jesus    Orange County Assistant District Attorney  
Debbie de Jong   Mental Health Association in Orange County 
Timothy Dexter   City of Newburgh Fire Department 
Austin DuBois   Attorney – Blustein, Shapiro, Rich, and Barone
Paul Ernenwein   Attorney – Catania, Mahon, Milligram & Rider  
Michael Essig    Mid-Hudson Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #188
Tom Faggione    Orange County Legislator
Nick Gessner     Orange County Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association
Maria Gulari    County Director, NHS Human Services  
Christina Hale     Orange County STOP-DWI
Chief Robert Hertman   Town of Wallkill Police Department 
Allan Markoff    New York Security Systems, Inc.  
Michele McKeon   Nora Cronin Presentation Academy  
Benjamin Ostrer   Orange County Attorney at Law 
Michael Pitt    City of Newburgh Police Department  
Harry Porr    Orange County Executive’s Office  
Chief Jack Quinn    Town of Highlands Police Department 
Michael Quinn    New York State Police 
Lisa Randazzo   Center for Developmental Disabilities
Stewart Rosenwasser    Orange County Attorney at Law 
Jason Sautter    Orange County Attorney at Law  
Kathy Somerville     Rape Crisis Advocate, Mental Health Assoc.in Orange County 
Scott Wilkinson   Orange County Resident
Chief William Worden   Port Jervis Police Department  
Chris Zaba   New York State Police
              
      In addition, the Community Advisory Board is in the process of creating seven regional boards, which will be composed of a cross-section of community representatives in those regions, who will discuss issues of crime and crime-prevention strategies in smaller areas of Orange County. As of February, 2016, four regional Community Advisory Boards have begun meeting on a regular basis, and the District Attorney’s staff is in the process of getting the remaining three boards established.

      Community Prosecution Initiatives: The staff of the District Attorney’s Special Projects and Community Affairs Bureau is responsible for administering several community prosecution initiatives:

The Orange County SMART Program: The SMART (Strategic Methods Aimed at Reducing Truancy) Program is designed to bring the authority of the District Attorney to bear on parents of truant students when those parents refuse to cooperate with efforts of school officials to remedy the causes of their children’s truancy. When a parent of a truant student refuses to cooperate with school officials, the District Attorney’s Office will get involved in the case, in an effort to provide further incentive for the parent to accept assistance or services necessary to address the child’s truancy. If a parent still refuses to cooperate, the parent could be charged in appropriate cases with the crime of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Since the District Attorney began the program in the fall of 2014, it has not been necessary to charge any parent with that crime, and in every case where the District Attorney intervened, or could have intervened, the student has returned to a consistent pattern of school attendance.

Narcotics Eviction Program. In October, 2015, the District Attorney inaugurated the Narcotics Eviction Program. The program is designed to remove drug dealers and others running illegal businesses on rental property.

Conviction Integrity Program (CIP). In October, 2015, the District Attorney launched the Conviction Integrity Program, designed to provide a mechanism to review cases where a convicted defendant claims to have been convicted of a crime that he or she did not commit, or to have been convicted of a crime that was grossly disproportionate to the criminal conduct that the defendant committed. Under the CIP, the Executive Assistant District Attorney in charge of the Special Projects and Community Affairs Bureau reviews claims of innocence and over-conviction, and in cases where a plausible claim is made, refers those cases to a CIP Committee, which is made up of several of the District Attorney’s staff, two police chiefs, and two Orange County criminal defense attorneys.

It’s On Us Orange County, N.Y. It’s On Us is a campaign begun by the White House in 2014, to raise awareness about sexual assault on college campuses. The initiative seeks to provide college students, instructors, and administrators with tools to assist them in recognizing sexual assault as it is happening, and in intervening to prevent sexual assault before it happens. In December, 2015, District Attorney Hoovler inaugurated It’s On Us Orange County, N.Y., to bring to Orange County the message of the It’s On Us campaign. In Orange County, the initiative brings together representatives of SUNY Orange, Mount Saint Mary College, and the United States Military Academy; the Orange County Rape Crisis Program; Orange County Safe Homes; the Orange County Department of Mental Health; school superintendents; business leaders; and law enforcement. In fact, Orange County has been designated by the White House as the first countywide It’s On Us cite in the United States.

The Uncommon Athlete. The Uncommon Athlete is a program developed jointly by Rachel’s Challenge and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. It is designed to impress on young athletes the values that will make them better athletes and better adults – Perseverance, Relationships, Integrity, Courage, and Empathy – values represented in the acronym PRICE. Through those values, the program seeks to help young athletes to better themselves, and to become adults who can lead and improve their communities. In March, 2016, District Attorney Hoovler brought The Uncommon Athlete to Orange County, at an assembly of over 200 school administrators, athletic directors, coaches, team captains, and other student athletes. The program is part of District Attorney Hoovler’s effort to reduce bullying and hazing in Orange County schools.            

      Public Service Campaigns: The District Attorney has sponsored several public service announcement campaigns. Those campaigns have targeted illegal drugs, driving while intoxicated, distracted driving, illegal guns, and elder abuse. Two of those campaigns have received international awards for their quality. In addition, the District Attorney established two crime-tip hotlines, one for general crimes, and one for labor-related crimes.