Meet DA Conley

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 Massachusetts’ capital city and its most diverse county.

webSince taking office in 2002, District Attorney Conley has led a period of unprecedented innovation and improvement to revolutionize the prosecutor’s role in the state’s criminal justice system.  His implementation of the “Boston Model” for investigating police-involved fatalities has earned praise across the country for top-quality, independent, prosecutor-led investigations marked by unparalleled transparency.  He has delivered presentations on that model, and the benefits of releasing video evidence early in the underlying investigations, 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 miscarriages of justice, District Attorney Conley has led or joined in efforts to vacate the convictions of almost a dozen wrongfully convicted men who were convicted years before he assumed office. In 2004, he instituted sweeping changes in the way eyewitness identifications were gathered and used, putting Suffolk County “at the forefront of the country” in using that evidence, 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 and disclosure in every training and far exceeds Massachusetts’ requirements for lawyers once they pass the bar. 

District Attorney Conley has pursued sentencing strategies that reduced the population of the Suffolk County House of Correction by 40% and helped push Massachusetts’ incarceration rate to the second-lowest in the country while reducing Boston’s violent crime rate to historic lows.  Drawing on years of experience in diversionary court practices that cut juvenile commitments by 75%, he launched alternative resolution programs for young people and substance-dependent defendants that prioritize diversion and treatment over prosecution and conviction. Citing his belief that jails and prisons should be reserved only for the most violent, high-level, and recidivist defendants, District Attorney Conley was an early proponent of expanding the county’s problem-solving specialty courts and today assigns prosecutors to 11 drug court, mental health court, homeless court, and veterans court sessions across the County.

District Attorney Conley’s legislative accomplishments include extending the statute of limitations on crimes of sexual violence against children, creating a Witness Protection Fund to ensure safety for victims of and witnesses to violent crime, and drafting a “safe harbor” provision in the state’s landmark human trafficking law to treat prostituted youth as victims rather than offenders. He has led aggressive and successful efforts to reduce gun violence in Boston, creating a specialized gun session in the Boston Municipal Court, which successfully eliminated a backlog of more than 350 cases, and a Suffolk Superior Court session dedicated to the intersection of drug trafficking and gun violence.

A career prosecutor before taking public office, District Attorney 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.  Those experiences led him to promote positive early interactions between prosecutors and the people they serve, and inspired his office’s annual soccer and basketball tournaments in Dorchester, Reading Day program at Boston schools, and Overcoming Violence curriculum for youth across Suffolk County.

District Attorney Conley has been honored with the Boston Bar Association Distinguished Public Servant Award for his work on wrongful convictions; the My Life My Choice Project 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.