Why Frank McQuade for District Attorney?

A former Police Officer. An Eagle Scout. A College All-Star Basketball Player. A vigorous camper, hiker, canoeist and horseman. A Catcher still playing league baseball. Frank exemplifies “the vigorous life.” But he also has an inner strength developed on a bedrock of religious faith and by fighting for causes in his community.

Frank has never worked a municipal job in his professional career, always in private practice. Committed to his Party’s principles but not indebted to his Party. Never part of partisan apparatchik, on the contrary he has been a tireless civic activist to reform local government, working comfortably and respectfully with area Democrats. He stakes solidly in the rule of Law and the words of the Constitution.

Frank has always been involved with diverse communities to serve the most socially-vulnerable and historically-disenfranchised. “Fairness has never been expedient.” Frank says. “To have been fair in the public arena has, if anything, cost me politically. I prefer to be fair.”

Did you know that the District Attorney of Philadelphia never was a prosecutor before taking office. Frank is smart and successful in his law practice, with trial experience and success in an active criminal docket. A good administrator, he directed a more than 1500 personnel company in private practice before opening his own practice. He is visionary and sees where the Office of District Attorney is going in a challenging landscape of laws and liberties.

Meet the Candidate

Frank McQuade is qualified to be District Attorney as his past experience has groomed him for such a position. From his professional background to personal upbringing, he is the ideal person to take on such a responsibility.

The Issues

Criminal Reform

Criminal justice reform is a hot topic. From voices on the street to the New York State Legislature and its startling changes part of this past session to the US Supreme Court and its landmark in Timbs v Indiana to the federal first Step Act of 2018, there have been seismic changes in the criminal justice landscape.

What are the main changes? Cashless and reduced bails. Shorter periods for prosecution to share evidence (“discovery”) and regulation on asset forfeiture (aState’s seizure of property suspected of having been involved in criminal activity without charging the owner of a crime.)

Criminal prosecution is a balancing act. It balances the need for public safety with civil liberty. We don’t need a “cut them loose DA” but we don’t want a DA who’s a “bean counting bounty hunter,” either. After all, fully the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth amendments of the U.S. Constitution, fully half of our Bill of Rights,  address the rights of people in criminal prosecution.

Balance.  Proposals for reforms must be balanced.  Has the New York State Senate acted extreme? Bail should never be punitive but it serves a purpose. Cashless bail seems excessive. Why not just a policy of lower bail? Are the new rules accelerating discovery unrealistic? Perhaps. While it is wrong to delay the defendant the tools to timely move his case, and already overworked prosecutors office needs realistic time to prepare the materials. When it comes to asset forfeiture, I am in favor of raining it in. It’s a menace to civil liberties, to double jeopardy protection and to eighth amendment protection against excessive punishment disproportionate to a given crime.

Gang Violence

I have travelled throughout Central America, from its teeming cities to its most remote outposts.  I am totally bilingual; my wife is Latina and my sons “medio-latino.”  I have litigated over 100 gang-based asylum cases in federal court.  I have devoted much of my personal career helping develop the Latino communities where I have lived.

I know gangs.  I get it.

Gangs de-stable our communities.  They prey on the most economically and socially vulnerable of our communities, hurting most often the very Latino people from where they come.  Central American gang violence is a most pernicious type, as it is of random violence, capricious and extreme.  These gang members are often young, and so they have a ready access to our schools for both recruiting new members and for targeting our young.  Traffickers heavily in fentanyl, they are a factor in the escalating opioid epidemic we battle.

As District Attorney, I would make prosecution of gang members who commit crime a top priority. I would be fearless in taking them on and not accept red herring excuses as to their social deprivation and cultural adaptation curve.  They need long sentences, not after-school programs.

Gangs.  Coming to a community near you?  Not if I can help it as District Attorney.

Drugs

The vigorous prosecution of dealers and gang-traffickers is common sense.  The criminal prosecution of physicians and pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors is more challenging legally (such as liability and culpability issues for stakeholders and stockholders and the difficulty in proving malice or gross negligence.)

Nevertheless, the prosecution of physicians and manufacturer should be considered as the new battle line to address opioid abuse in the county.  Recently, federal prosecutors in Manhattan filed their first criminal drug distribution charges against a pharmaceutical wholesaler. A similar action in State Supreme Court in Suffolk County is under way.  And of course, we remember Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, who administered propofol to Jackson hours before the singer’s death, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in 2011.

I also commend our Police for their law enforcement efforts and for the promotion of Narcan training by Police, fire departments and civic organizations such as C.E.R.T. for the training they provide.

Prosecution of physicians and manufacturers.  A new frontier?  What do you think?

 

FX McQuade

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