Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley is the chief law enforcement officer for Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop, overseeing an office of about 265 men and women who handle about 35,000 criminal cases every year in the state’s most diverse and densely-populated county.
Since taking office in 2002, Conley has revolutionized the prosecutor’s role in Massachusetts’ criminal justice system. His implementation of the “Boston Model” for investigating police-involved fatalities has earned praise from the press and public alike for top-quality, independent, prosecutor-led investigations marked by unparalleled transparency. He has delivered presentations on that model to the Major City Prosecutors Council, the National District Attorneys Association, the New York District Attorneys Association, and other groups.
In an ongoing effort to identify, prevent, and correct wrongful convictions, Conley instituted sweeping changes in the way eyewitness identifications were gathered and used, putting Suffolk County “at the forefront of the country,” according to Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project. He launched the state’s first Conviction Integrity Program and implemented a continuing education program for prosecutors that stresses ethics in every training and far exceeds Massachusetts’ requirements for lawyers once they pass the bar. His legislative accomplishments include extending the statute of limitations on crimes of sexual violence against children, creating a Witness Protection Fund to assist the victims of and witnesses to violent crime, and drafting a “safe harbor” provision in state law to treat prostituted youth as victims rather than offenders. With a philosophy that stresses intervention and diversion over incarceration for low-level offenders, he is a strong proponent of problem-solving courts for homeless, mentally ill, and drug-addicted defendants. He has led aggressive and successful efforts to reduce gun violence in Boston, creating a specialized Gun Court that cut the time to resolve gun cases by more than half and using targeted prosecutions to identify and isolate high-level violent offenders.
A career prosecutor before taking public office, Conley served as an assistant district attorney for nine years in the office he now leads, prosecuting homicides, domestic violence, and other serious felonies. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was one of a handful of state prosecutors named to Massachusetts’ first anti-gang violence task force.Conley has been honored with the Boston Bar Association’s Distinguished Public Servant Award for his work on wrongful convictions; the My Life My Choice Project’s Beacon of Light Award for protecting child victims of commercial sexual exploitation; the Trailblazer for Social Change Award from the Suffolk University Law School Student Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee; the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance’s Gerard T. Downing Leadership Award; and other recognitions from the Sons of Italy, Rotary International, and Stop Handgun Violence. He is a lifelong resident of Boston.
To learn more about DA Conley, read his speeches.