Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Announcement coming

Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy, III will hold a press conference Thursday at 11 a.m. in the DA's Office to announce his future plans.
His decision regards whether he will::
  • continue in the DA's Office until the end of the year, which would then permit the Governor to appoint a DA on Jan. 1, 2015, resulting in an election or DA in November 2015, or
  • resign his DA position, which would mean an election for Saratoga County DA would be held this November. 
According to Murphy's press release, in the first scenario, in which he stays through the end of the year, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo could then appoint a DA after Murphy becomes County Court judge since he is running unopposed in November for the seat being vacated by Judge Jerry J. Scarano.
In this scenario, it is likely that the appointed DA would then remove the 21 Assistant DAs, the 5 investigators, and 2 secretaries, the press release states, since they are all "at will" employees and serve "at the pleasure of the DA."  There are a number employees in the office who have civil service protection, however, who would remain in place.  
Also, the press release continues, "the more than 500 felony indictments pending would then see a turnover in the prosecutor assigned to  the case and victims would then be introduced to new prosecutors.  A second turnover could occur depending upon the results of the November 2015 election, which would result in  more difficulty in the prosecution of cases going forward as described above." 
In the second scenario, if Murphy were to resign before Sept. 20, he forfeits the remainder of his salary, benefits and health coverage immediately, but the nearly 30 "at will" employees of the DA's Office would retain their positions and the cases would continue without turnover in prosecutors assigned.  
If this were to occur, First Assistant DA Karen Heggen would become Acting District Attorney until the election this November, when there would be an election for DA for a full four year term. 
We'll be at Thursday's news conference to provide you with full coverage of this story.

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