Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy, III was sworn in this morning as District Attorney by County Clerk Craig Hayner. Murphy begins his 5th term as DA marking his 17th year as top prosecutor and his 26th year in the DA’s Office. Murphy has significantly expanded the role of the DA by focusing on victim’s rights and been a longtime supporter of strengthening the laws that allow victims the right to speak at sentencing, receive restitution and compensation from the Crime Victims Board and have an active role in the outcome of their criminal case. As the chief law enforcement officer for 14 police agencies in a county of 215,000 people, Murphy runs an office of 21 assistant district attorneys, 5 investigators, a crime victims unit and as well as a number of support staff functions. He and his assistants prosecuted nearly 10,000 criminal cases last year along with a staggering 96,000 vehicle and traffic offenses in the 44 justice courts in Saratoga County as well as Saratoga County Court and grand jury.
Upon being sworn in Murphy said “I am honored to have been reelected to serve as DA and to continue to bring justice to victims of crime in this county. By joining with law enforcement, not for profits, community agencies, schools, parents and government officials we can work together to make our community safer. Saratoga County is unique in that people want to live here because our quality of life is high, the scenery is beautiful and our towns and cities are thriving. In part, this is because our crime rate is low and we live in a very safe place. I attribute that to the hard work of the men and women in my office and their close relationship with the police officers and their extraordinary work. I proudly stand with my partners in law enforcement who dedicate themselves to doing the right thing to make sure the correct person is charged, that criminal cases are thoroughly investigated and that the interests of justice are served in each and every case.”
A significant step that Murphy recently accomplished was the installation of digital recording rooms in nearly every law enforcement office across the county allowing police officers to digitally record defendant’s statements from beginning to end. As a result, claims by defendants of “coerced confessions” by police have vanished. Hearings on voluntary confessions have been reduced to the defense attorney and the judge watching the recording, with very few witnesses, significantly reducing court time.
The DA hopes to implement new technology by allowing for televised/ remote arraignments. The idea is that defendants would not be required to be transported from jail to justice courts throughout the county, ultimately saving on manpower, overtime, court time, fuel and enhancing safety and security of the inmate. A two way teleconferencing feature would allow the defendant and all parties including the judge to see and talk to one another remotely. Murphy said “if private business can do it and save money, why can’t the public sector as well. The most important thing is to safeguard the defendant’s constitutional rights….if those are protected and we can save taxpayer dollars, then I think it’s a good idea.”
Murphy further said “mostly It’s an honor to work in the trenches alongside them.”
Hon. James A. Murphy, III
Saratoga County District Attorney
Director and Past Chair
NYS District Attorney’s Association
25 West High Street
Ballston Spa, NY 12020
DA website: www.jimmurphyda.com
Follow me on Twitter: @JimMurphyIII