New Suffolk County prosecutor says he will focus on fairness and fairness, no decision has yet been made on running for office
Acting Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden does not expect to make any major changes to the office he took over last week. But Hayden says there will be differences between him and his predecessor Rachael Rollins, who is now Massachusetts’ attorney in the United States.
For example, the well-known “list” of lower level crimes that Rollins said the Suffolk DA would not immediately move to prosecute under his direction. Hayden doesn’t necessarily plan to have an official list, but said reducing the incarceration rate is important to him.
“As for ‘the list,’ as people call it, we’re going to take a look at it,” Hayden told WBUR during an interview in his new office last week. “I don’t think it’s ever been absolute. Divergent and different levels and measures of accountability, except for incarceration, things that can hopefully reduce the prison footprint – I think these have always been a priority throughout [the] DA’s office through time. It will definitely be of interest to me.”
Hayden, 53, said his appointment as district attorney this month was almost a “homecoming” for him. He worked as an assistant district attorney in the Suffolk County Attorney’s Office from 1997 to 2008 under former prosecutors Ralph Martin and Dan Conley.
When Governor Charlie Baker nominated him to succeed Rollins’ swearing-in as U.S. state attorney, Hayden was chairman of the Commonwealth Sex Offenders Registry Board, which oversees convicted sex offenders.
Hayden said he has yet to decide whether he will run to keep the position in the election this fall, but expects to make a decision soon.
Although Rollins is known as a “progressive prosecutor”, Hayden avoided the term. He said he intends to continue the work of the Bureau’s Integrity Review Office, which investigates allegations of innocence and wrongful convictions in past criminal cases. Hayden’s goal, he said, will be to solve serious crimes and bring fairness and fairness to the criminal justice system.
“I think it’s a little dangerous to say, ‘Oh, he’s progressive’ or ‘He’s moderate,'” Hayden said. “I have progressive ideas, and I think I have some that are moderate and my job is to ensure public safety and justice and fairness in this system, regardless of political opinion. .I think if I have the honor and privilege to do this job for a little while, everyone – including the progressives – would be very happy with the work I’m doing.”
As Suffolk County’s lead prosecutor, Hayden will oversee a team of some 270 people, including 160 attorneys. The office handles more than 25,000 criminal cases a year.
Hayden announced new appointments on Friday: Padraic Lydon as chief of staff and Erika Reis as general counsel. He said current general counsel Donna Patalano and chief of staff Amanda Teo will leave in late January to pursue other opportunities.
Hayden said among his other priorities as DA will be “community outreach and collaboration like you’ve never seen before.” Hayden also plans to focus on guns and gun violence, which he says is important for law enforcement across the country.
“I’m actually going to look at every gun case that we have right now and where they stand and figure out what to do with them and how to prioritize them, and then how to deal with them going forward,” Hayden said.
Hayden added that he supports Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s “public health approach” when cleaning tents last week near the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, the epicenter of the region’s opioid epidemic.