Suffolk County encompasses the cities and towns of Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop.
Our office, under the direction of District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, handles approximately 50,000 criminal cases each year in Suffolk Superior Court; the Supreme Judicial Court; the Appeals Court; eight district court departments located throughout the county that fall under the purview of the Boston Municipal Court; Chelsea District Court; and the Boston Juvenile Court. Our main office is located at One Bulfinch Place in downtown Boston. With approximately 250 employees, including about 140 lawyers, we are the largest and busiest district attorney’s office in New England. But as you’ll learn as you navigate through this site, we do more than prosecute cases. We offer a wide range of services and programs to help victims and witnesses of crime, and to educate the public about important crime prevention and safety issues.
District and Municipal Court Division
As part of its overall mission of serving victims and protecting citizens of the county, District Attorney Conley’s office maintains a presence in nine district and municipal courts throughout Suffolk County. Operated by the Trial Court of the Commonwealth, these courts have jurisdiction over misdemeanors and some felonies, and the vast majority of criminal cases handled by our office are resolved here. Each district courthouse has a team of assistant district attorneys, victim witness advocates, investigators, and administrative staff who are dedicated to serving victims and their families, while holding criminal offenders accountable.
The City of Boston is served by eight municipal courts. They are located in the downtown area, Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, East Boston, South Boston, Roxbury, and West Roxbury. Cases arising in Winthrop are directed to East Boston, while the cities of Chelsea and Revere are served by Chelsea District Court.
Superior Court Division
Most felonies committed in Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop are tried in Suffolk Superior Court, located in the Suffolk County Courthouse in Pemberton Square, near Government Center. District Attorney Conley’s office determines which cases go to Superior Court – where convictions result in more serious punishments – based on the severity and complexity of the crime committed or the criminal history of the defendant.
Additionally, serious crimes committed by defendants under age 17 are adjudicated in the Boston Juvenile Court, located in the Edward Brooke Courthouse on New Chardon Street, and legal arguments related to appeals of previous convictions are heard before the Massachusetts Appeals Court or the Supreme Judicial Court, both located in the John Adams Courthouse in Pemberton Square.
The district attorney’s Superior Court Division is comprised of a number of specialized units, most dedicated to a particular type of crime. The prosecutors, advocates, investigators, and administrative staff assigned to these units are highly-trained men and women who are dedicated to achieving justice for victims and their families. They will often assist district court prosecutors with especially complex cases.
Members of the Appellate Unit work together with other prosecutors to ensure that the cases and evidence brought before Suffolk County juries are strong enough to withstand review by the Massachusetts Appeals Court, the state’s Supreme Judicial Court, and even the Supreme Court of the United States. As the busiest Appellate Unit in the state, members of that unit work hard to defend verdicts and judgments won by Suffolk County prosecutors and oppose challenges made by defendants. Cases argued by the Appeals Unit frequently result in the establishment of new case laws that serve the interests of justice across the Commonwealth. Appellate Unit lawyers also work with case prosecutors at motions hearings and at trial to assist them with questions of law and legal precedent that may arise.
Elders and Persons with Disabilities Unit
The staff of the Elders and Persons with Disabilities Unit (EPDU) works with older adults and persons with physical or developmental disabilities who have been victimized by crime. Prosecutors and advocates know the importance of investigating and trying these cases in such a way as to maintain the dignity of the victims while ensuring that offenders are held accountable for their crimes. While crime can affect anyone regardless of age, some offenders target senior citizens with financial scams that can have a terrible impact on one’s finances and savings. EPDU prosecutors and advocates are familiar with many of these schemes and work to prevent as well as prosecute them.
Family Protection and Sexual Assault Bureau
The Family Protection and Sexual Assault Bureau encompasses the Child Protection, Domestic Violence, and Sexual Assault Units. These units investigate and prosecute some of the most challenging cases handled by the office, and members of these units are committed to resolving them with discretion and compassion for the victims. Prosecutors, advocates, and investigators assigned to the Family Protection and Sexual Assault Bureau know it is often difficult for victims to report intimate partner violence or child abuse, and they are dedicated to making the process as safe and streamlined as possible for those who have been victimized. While individual crimes may occur against a child or family member, our office strives to aid in the well-being of the entire family by providing services to everyone affected by physical and sexual violence. Members of the Family Protection and Sexual Assault Bureau have fostered important relationships and partnerships with outside agencies and providers, in an effort to get victims and their families all of the assistance they may need.
Gang Unit / Safe Neighborhood Initiative
Members of the Gang Unit and the Safe Neighborhood Initiative (SNI) work to keep our communities safe and free from gang-related violence. Working closely with specialized police units, they fight criminal organizations at the street level and beyond, focusing on the gun and drug cases that often accompany gang-affiliated offenders. Embracing the strategy of community-based prosecutions – under which prosecutors build strong relationships with neighborhood and civic groups and empower citizens to help authorities devise public safety strategies – members of these units attend regular community meetings and work to address residents’ concerns. District Attorney Conley believes strongly in community-based prosecutions and in working in close collaboration with residents, neighborhood organizations, and other law enforcement agencies. The Gang Unit and SNI program work in part to aid the decent and law-abiding people who live, work and raise their families in Suffolk County’s neighborhoods.
The death of a loved one from violence can be among the most devastating experiences a person can face. Homicide prosecutors and victim advocates are among the most skilled and experienced members of our staff, and they know how vulnerable a family can be under such difficult circumstances. They are committed to speaking for the victim and his or her loved ones in a court of law, ensuring that the deceased is not forgotten, and holding the offender accountable. Members of the Suffolk County DA’s Homicide Unit prosecute nearly half of all homicides in Massachusetts, and are also obligated under statute to oversee all death investigations in Suffolk County. Among the most experienced staff members in the office, homicide prosecutors work closely with investigators and detectives from Boston and local police departments, and the State Police, to thoroughly investigate every homicide. This team effort helps prosecutors build strong cases that lead to the identification and prosecution of the county’s most dangerous criminals.
The Juvenile Unit, whose cases are heard in the Boston Juvenile Court, handles most cases in which the offender is age 16 or younger. Because these cases often involve a young victim as well, Juvenile Unit staff members are skilled at communicating with young people and answering their families’ questions. The juvenile justice system is slightly different from the one that adjudicates adults, and its prosecutors are able to balance the factors of punishment, deterrence, and rehabilitation effectively to serve the victim and the common good.
Narcotics and Asset Forfeiture Unit
Few criminal offenses are as insidious and damaging to individuals, families, and communities as the sale of illegal drugs. Prosecutors in the Narcotics Unit work to stem the tide of illegal drugs such as crack, cocaine, heroin and marijuana, as well as illicit sales of pharmaceutical drugs like OxyContin. Targeting offenders ranging from street-level dealers all the way up to highly organized drug distribution networks, the Narcotics Unit works to disrupt the availability of drugs throughout Suffolk County. Under state law, the proceeds of drug sales may be seized by police and prosecutors, and the Asset Forfeiture Reinvestment Program works to ensure that those goods and funds are properly confiscated and then reinvested to law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Every year, District Attorney Conley uses a portion of the seized money to award grants to nonprofit groups that steer young people away from drugs, gangs and risky behavior.
Special Prosecutions Unit
The Special Prosecutions Unit (SPU) investigates and prosecutes cases of white collar crime, economic fraud, computer-related crimes, political corruption, and related offenses. The Computer Crime Division of the SPU handles crimes committed on or with the use of computers and the Internet, including the rising number of cases involving online child enticement.