Leslie Crocker Snyder
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
The three Democrats vying to succeed Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau squared off in a debate at John Jay College last night.They fielded questions on high-profile cases from Etan Patz to the Central Park jogger to Plaxico Burress and on their legal philosophies on drug law enforcement and parole-versus-prison, among other topics. The debate featured some sparring between Cy Vance and Leslie Crocker Snyder who's been hammering Vance for weeks for spending the majority of the last two decades in private practice across the country.
"During NY's worst crime, worst, when everyone here was in danger and our kids were being assaulted, you were in Seattle."
Snyder, a former state supreme court judge, claimed to be taking on what she called the old boys' club in the city.
Vance accused Snyder of changing her positions since she ran against Morgenthau in 2005, saying at that time she supported the death penalty.
"How is the electorate to know what are your core legal values, and when they won't change and bend to political whims."
Vance has the support of Morgenthau in the election.
Friday, August 07, 2009
By Bob Hennelly
With this year's retirement of 90-year-old Robert Morgenthau, Manhattan voters will have to pick a new district attorney for the first time in 34 years.
The last time Manhattan voters had to pick a new district attorney was in the mid 1970's. The top song was Barbara Streisand's 'The Way We Were'. New York, teetering on bankruptcy, appealed to President Gerald Ford for a lifeline.
President Ford: 'I can assure you this president will never allow the doors of the United States Treasury to be flung open to every city with a fiscal hole in its pocket.'
In 1975, Morgenthau's first year on the job, there were 648 murders in Manhattan alone. Last year, the borough had only 62. There were 4400 robberies last year, 30,000 in 1975. Morgenthau became a kind of institution, a D.A.'s D.A. The TV show 'Law and Order' is modeled on his office. Morganthau was more than a politician -- he became a brand.
No wonder then, all three of the Democrats who want to succeed him make sure voters know they worked for him.
There are few empty seats at the DA debate at the CUNY Graduate School. On stage, the three candidates exchange pleasantries. The field consists of former judge Leslie Crocker Snyder, former prosecutor Cyrus Vance Jr, and former Handgun Control President Richard Aborn.
Vance, son of the late secretary of state won the endorsement of Morgenthau early on. But at the debate, a New York 1 reporter was quick to ask him about his experience in private practice -- 3000 miles away.
Grace Rauh: 'You have spent much of your career, 16 years in Seattle, a city that one local columnist once described as where a weak latte constitutes a major crime.'
Vance quickly pointed out that he has the endorsement not only of Morgenthau, but of three former U.S. attorneys.
Vance: 'They know me and believe I have the best combination of qualities.'
But Vance also has to pivot away from Morgenthau so as to appear to be his own man.
Vance: 'Looking back at Bob's career I think he could have come earlier to his decisions on cases that ultimately were dismissed had he had a convictions integrity unit to evaluate cases like the Central Park jogger case.'
In 2005, Judge Snyder -- who served both Morgenthau and his predecessor Frank Hogan -- made the bold move of running against him. Backed by law enforcement unions and The New York times, she won 42 percent of the vote. She distinguished herself from Morgenthau. She came across as a tough on crime judge who, unlike Morgenthau, supported the death penalty.
Snyder: 'Now I am concerned about protecting the residents of Manhattan. I am concerned about the little guy, the seniors, the most vulnerable. I want to make sure our white collar plan first and foremost protects those people which means the smaller frauds, the internet scams, the credit card scams, the immigration scams, the identity theft.'
She is also now opposing the death penalty. In the forum, opponent Richard Aborn pushed her to explain.