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Mass. candidates in the 2022 district attorney races, in their own words

Click on a name below to read the candidate's response to WBUR's questionnaire. Entries were lightly edited to meet style guidelines by The Associated Press, and incorrect claims were addressed in an attached editor's note. Not every claim could be verified. We note below if the candidate failed to return our questionnaire.

Berkshire County: Timothy J. Shugrue

Bristol County:  Thomas M. Quinn III

Cape & Islands District: Daniel Higgins | Robert Joseph Galibois

Essex County: Paul F. Tucker

Hampden County: Anthony D. Gulluni

Middlesex County: Marian T. Ryan

Norfolk County: Michael W. Morrissey

Northwestern District: David E. Sullivan

Plymouth County: Rahsaan Hall | Timothy J. Cruz

Suffolk County: Kevin R. Hayden

Worcester County: Joseph D. Early Jr.

Timothy J. Shugrue

Berkshire District Attorney | Democrat | Unopposed

Did not provide answers to WBUR's voter questionnaire.

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Thomas M. Quinn III

Bristol District Attorney | Democrat | Unopposed

Did not provide answers to WBUR's voter questionnaire.

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Daniel Higgins

Cape & Islands District Attorney | Republican | Open seat

About Daniel Higgins: Dan has been an assistant district attorney for the Cape & Islands for almost 13 years. He lives in West Barnstable with his wife, Elizabeth and his son Charlie. Prior to becoming a prosecutor, Dan graduated from Boston College and Suffolk University Law School.

What is Daniel Higgins' philosophy as a prosecutor? Dan believes in treating all people as individuals. There is a difference between a crime that occurs as a result of human frailty and one that results from genuine evil. Recognizing the difference in each case is the key to protecting the public and treating all persons fairly who come before the court.

What are Daniel Higgins' top priorities for the office?

Read this

The distribution of opiates to our vulnerable citizens remains one of the most pressing issues. A host of societal issues flow from these substances and the addictions they create. Prosecuting the dealers of these substances and seeking prison sentences is an essential component. However, we cannot arrest our way out of this issue. Too much profit is available, and the void left by a jailed dealer will be filled. It is essential we devote significant resources to education and prevention. We must reach our children during their school years to warn them about the dangers of fentanyl and opiates. We must devote resources to encouraging treatment for those struggling with addiction. When a person is charged with a crime stemming from addiction, we have an opportunity to get that person into treatment as part of the criminal case. Here, the interest of the public in reducing recidivism and the interest of the individual in beating their addiction are jointly met by mandating treatment.

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Robert Joseph Galibois

Cape & Islands District Attorney | Democrat | Open seat

About Robert J. Galibois: Former prosecutor and presently a defense attorney with 27 years of experience in criminal law. Married for 26 years, two sons in college, served on planning board and other committees in Bourne. Lifelong dedication to community service.

What is Galibois' philosophy as a prosecutor? A prosecutor must ensure public safety for all members in the community for which the prosecutor serves. Public safety arrives through a variety of avenues. While incarceration is necessary for those who pursue evil, the majority of cases present through substance use disorder, alcohol abuse, and/or mistreatment (or lack thereof) of an underlying mental health condition. A prosecutor must also be regularly engaged within the community the prosecutor serves and acquire data on the cases handled to disseminate to the public for digestion and analysis.

What are Galibois' top priorities for the office? Pursue public safety within its four cornerstones: integrity, accountability, experience and engagement. Establish and maintain professional bonds with our law enforcement partners. Employ seasoned and skilled prosecutors who always remain available to our law enforcement partners. Strive for continuous community engagement by employing a community engagement liaison who presents in our neighborhoods every day, form community coalitions in each town and on both islands that meet each month with our office, and employ a staff willing to contribute four hours of community service each month to give back to our residents. Launch a mental health session in the district court in order to bring trained professionals in the field to identify the core issue that bring the defendant before the court and seek to address that issue. Open a veterans session in the district court wherein volunteering veterans from the community can assist the struggling veteran before the court. Collect data on each case that will be produced in an annual report for dissemination to the public so our decisions can be scrutinized. Advocate for the growth of residential treatment programs to address the ongoing opioid epidemic.

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Paul F. Tucker

Essex District Attorney | Democrat | Unopposed

About Paul F. Tucker: Long career with Salem police — finished as chief. Adjunct faculty criminal justice at Salem State University for over two decades. Licensed attorney in Massachusetts for 21 years. State representative for eight years, still in office. Deep experience in mental health, substance use disorder and working with victims of crime and juveniles.

What does Tucker consider the key issues in this race? Holding offenders accountable while recognizing when someone deserves a second chance and making sure people that have mental health or substance use disorder issues get treatment. Diverting juveniles from the system when appropriate. Using sound discretion in charging and at points throughout the criminal justice system. Better outcomes for offenders mean better outcomes for public safety and society.

What are Tucker's top priorities for the office? It is imperative that discretionary decisions be made fairly and justly. Recognizing the issues of mental health, substance use disorder and often dual diagnosis in people that become involved in the justice system is important in reaching the best outcome.

I will look to incorporate best practices and evidence-based programs in dealing with juveniles and continue the good work of my predecessor in having a strong juvenile diversion program. I will be a strong voice for victims of crime as I have been in my public service to date. I also know that there is a very wide difference between someone that is struggling with addiction and someone who is trafficking in fentanyl. The person trying to get into recovery should be supported, and the person distributing the poison which took almost 3,000 lives in the commonwealth last year must face the consequences of their actions. Selecting, hiring and training a diverse team is also a priority.

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Anthony D. Gulluni

Hampden District Attorney | Democrat | Unopposed

Did not provide answers to WBUR's voter questionnaire.

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Marian T. Ryan

Middlesex District Attorney | Democrat | Unopposed

About Marian T. Ryan: Marian Ryan is an accomplished trial and appellate court prosecutor, a proven creator of best-in-class crime prevention initiatives and a leading voice for criminal legal system reform. She is privileged to lead the office in which she has spent her entire legal career and to serve alongside its dedicated professionals.

What is Ryan's philosophy as a prosecutor? District Attorney Ryan believes that a public prosecutor’s office must strive for excellence in a number of areas, some of which include: (1) the protection of the public safety through the fair and just prosecutions of the tens of thousands of cases that occur annually and (2) the analysis of those cases so that (a) prosecutorial decisions are both data-driven and consistently applied and (b) the office’s policy and prevention teams can create effective crime prevention and harm reduction programs. Ryan also believes that a prosecutor must be a voice for criminal legal reform.

What are Ryan's top priorities for the office? If fortunate enough to be re-elected as Middlesex District Attorney, Ryan’s key priorities will include: (1) ensuring that the office continues to excel at its core mission — the protection of the public safety; (2) the development of additional industry-leading crime prevention and harm reduction programs (e.g., the office’s myriad diversion offerings); (3) further shaping the Massachusetts criminal legal system so that it is both fair and perceived as fair; (4) working to address systemic issues of racial inequity in the criminal legal system; (5) continuing to have her office serve as the statewide leader in providing access to its prosecution-related raw data and analysis (please see the ‘Transparency Through Data’ page on the office website!); (6) combating growing levels of hate and extremism in Middlesex’s communities; and (7) offering concrete solutions to foster respect for the rule of law and our sacred democracy. These are just some of Ryan’s priorities. She welcomes the opportunity to speak further about her vision for this term (please email her with any questions/suggestions/comments).

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Michael W. Morrissey

Michael W. Morrissey

Norfolk District Attorney | Democrat | Unopposed

Did not provide answers to WBUR's voter questionnaire.

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David E. Sullivan

Northwestern District Attorney | Democrat | Unopposed

Did not provide answers to WBUR's voter questionnaire.

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Rahsaan Hall

Plymouth District Attorney | Democrat | Challenger

About Hall: Rahsaan Hall is running for Plymouth County District Attorney to restore accountability and public trust to the office. A champion for civil rights, former prosecutor and reverend, Rahsaan has been at the forefront of local and national issues that call for reimagining a system that prioritizes restoration, transformation and healing.

What is Hall's philosophy as a prosecutor? Rahsaan believes that addressing underlying issues that lead to criminal legal system involvement and using evidence-based practices, like restorative justice, should guide the office’s efforts to reduce incarceration and racial disparities in the system. This produces better outcomes for our communities. Also, raising the level of integrity and professionalism with clear policies, training and data analysis, will reduce miscarriages of justice and increase public trust in the office. Finally, engaging community stakeholders, directly impacted people and others with lived experience, provides important insight and guidance on our priorities.

What are Hall's top priorities for the office? If elected the top three priorities of my administration will be to develop clear policies and training programs that cover all aspects of prosecution, victim services and community engagement in a way that is consistent with the above stated philosophy. I will create an integrity and justice unit that has authority and jurisdiction over all cases to review, address and prevent miscarriages of justice. Finally, develop robust data collection, analysis and reporting capabilities in partnership with state and academic partners to enhance evidence based approaches to reducing incarceration, recidivism and racial disparities.

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Timothy J. Cruz

Plymouth District Attorney | Republican | Incumbent

About Timothy J. Cruz: District Attorney Tim Cruz is a lifelong resident of Plymouth County. He has served in this position for 21 years. Under Cruz's leadership, violent crime in Brockton has declined, overdoses are down and Plymouth County is in the 99th percentile of safest counties in America.

What is Cruz's philosophy as a prosecutor? Tim Cruz believes that people who commit crimes need to be held accountable in order to keep the rest of us safe. At the same time, Cruz believes that early intervention is key to breaking cycles of abuse, drug addiction and crime. The Plymouth County District Attorney's office uses diversion programs, early intervention programs such as Handle With Care, and drug abuse recovery programs such as Plymouth County Outreach to provide resources and assistance to the most vulnerable members of our population.

What are Cruz's top priorities for the office? If re-elected, District Attorney Cruz will continue the work he has done over the past 20 years to keep Plymouth County safe. He will continue look at the offender and not just the offense when making charging decisions; he will continue community programs such as Handle with Care, Plymouth County Outreach, and TRIAD; he will work with public safety and law enforcement officials at all levels of government; his office will continue to distribute millions of dollars to community programs across the county such as the School Resource Officer Comfort Dog Program, Hingham CARES and others; and he will continue to advocate in front of the state Legislature for laws that better protect our seniors and children.

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Kevin R. Hayden

Suffolk District Attorney | Democrat | Unopposed

Did not provide answers to WBUR's voter questionnaire.

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Joseph D. Early, Jr.

Middle District Attorney | Democrat | Unopposed

Did not provide answers to WBUR's voter questionnaire.

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