by WAMC-Northeast Public Radio’s Josh Landes. To read and hear the story in its entirety, click here.
As she prepares to take office on January 2nd, Berkshire District Attorney-elect Andrea Harrington is appointing staff and her transition team.
Forty years ago, Berkshire County split off from Hampden County to establish its own district attorney’s office. After a hard fought Democratic primary not unlike this year’s, the fledging office had to build itself up from scratch. Retired Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Francis Spina was there.
“This was a brand new office, but Judge Danford, a superior court judge, was the first assistant, I was the second assistant, and Tony Ruberto was the District Attorney,” he told WAMC.
Now, Spina finds himself again in a moment of profound change for the office as he chairs Andrea Harrington’s transition team. He says Harrington reached out just after her victory in the November 6th general election.
“The criminal justice system is in many respects a cooperative effort – and when I say cooperative, it depends on the goodwill of judges, of prosecutors, of defense lawyers, police, social workers,” said Spina. “I mean, these are community problems, these aren’t problems that just end up getting dumped in the lap of the District Attorney, and anybody who thinks that that’s the way to handle crime, is to dump them in the lap of the police and the District Attorney, are – I think what we’ve learned in the last several decades is that’s just totally wrong.”