Ray Tierney – Suffolk’s new Attorney General
Raymond A. Tierney is a seasoned and experienced prosecutor with a badass mentality, and now he holds the title of Suffolk County District Attorney.
An independent who has been endorsed by both the Republican and Conservative parties, Tierney was elected in 2021 amid a wave of Republican and Conservative victories across the county, New York state and the country. Tierney’s message throughout the campaign was simple: hold criminals accountable for their actions, fight the recent state bail reform act and make the district attorney’s office more accessible to the citizens of Suffolk. This message resonated with voters and came out on top on election day.
“Running against an incumbent and having no institutional support, I made my case directly to voters,” Tierney said. “Given recent developments in the state and the nation, my message resonated with them as the right direction for Suffolk County.”
Prior to being elected, Tierney spent 27 years as a state and federal prosecutor. Beginning his law enforcement career as an assistant district attorney in 1992 in Suffolk, Tierney returns to a familiar office, only this time he’s at the helm.
Tierney attended the prestigious Brown University, where he served as a catcher on the varsity football team. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he would move on to law school, when he was admitted to St. John’s School of Law. During his participation, he will serve as the editor of the articles of the St. John’s International Law Reviewa respected academic legal periodical, and earned his JD in 1992, which marked the start of a successful career as a lawyer.
“I went to law school with the specific goal of being a prosecutor in mind,” Tierney says. “When I was a kid, I was always told ‘you do well in school, you’re a good writer, you should be a lawyer.’ So as a kid my perception of what it meant to be a lawyer was to go to court and prosecute the bad guy As I got older and understood all the different aspects and varied opportunities that a law degree could offer you, my desire to be a prosecutor never changed.
Throughout his career, he had myriad accomplishments in the courtroom that were lauded by his campaign, his supporters and, ultimately, voters. Notably, during Tierney’s second stint in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, he was responsible for investigating and prosecuting felony cases, including holding politicians accountable for breaking the law and abusing the public trust. . It has also prosecuted violent offenders, ranging from organized crime to street gangs, homicide to domestic violence, to help keep Suffolk’s 1.3 million people safe.
“My first big case was the Shane Daniels case, where a young black man was beaten up, while an off-duty policeman held the crowd at bay with his service revolver,” he recalls. “Prosecuting the offender and off-duty officer was an eye opener — in particular, as the first high-profile case, I was instructed to prosecute.
In 2008, Tierney began a position with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York in the Long Island Criminal Division. Holding the title of Assistant U.S. Attorney, he helped lead the first prosecutions of MS-13 and helped launch a nationwide effort to disrupt the dangerous gang’s influence on Long Island and across the country.
“It was pretty amazing because you see it from both perspectives,” Tierney says of the lawsuits in his hometown. “As a kid growing up in Suffolk County, I had a whimsical perception of Long Island as being that sweet spot. As a prosecutor, you witness firsthand the issues and problems plaguing Suffolk County, just like in any other community. Being able to go back to Suffolk County and work to protect people – from things like gang violence with MS-13 — was very meaningful to me.
After more than a decade, he left to serve in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, working under District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, a Democrat. Tierney was in charge of the Violent Criminal Enterprise Bureau, the Criminal Strategies Unit, and the Body Worn Camera Unit. Overseeing all aspects of the operation, he led and supervised units that included teams of prosecutors, attorney investigators, NYPD investigators, analysts, paralegals and clerical staff.
Now, however, as Suffolk County Prosecutor, it is his responsibility to work alongside law enforcement, prosecute those who break the law and help keep Suffolk safe and secure.
“I am grateful for my past experiences as a prosecutor,” he says. “I have had an incredible opportunity to work with some very great prosecutors and investigators throughout my career, to learn from them and to use those lessons to inform my prosecutions in Suffolk County. Some of these people wonderful that I have worked with in the past, I had the chance to take them on board with me.
“If there is one thing my career and campaign have taught me, it is that all citizens of Suffolk County want their safety and that of their families, to be treated fairly by law enforcement and have a good quality of life,” he continues. “I will not forget those lessons, and I will ensure that my office and I fight every day to make those hopes a reality for everyone in the county.”
Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate editor of Dan’s papers.