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Letter: Sedita is respected, admired by his peers

Sedita is respected, admired by his peers

Frank Sedita is a career public servant who, for over a quarter of a century, has represented and sought justice for the people of Erie County. Over the course of two decades, he has received numerous awards for community service and good government. Gov. Andrew Cuomo chose him as one of the 10 prosecutors to serve on the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, a commission that I co-chaired. Sedita’s work on that commission was nothing less than superb, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to rooting out corruption in all levels of state government.

From July 2014 through July 2015, Sedita served as president of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York, where he was a leading voice on preventing wrongful convictions, improving overall integrity in the entire criminal justice system and ethical conduct. I find it interesting that a recent News editorial criticized him for not prosecuting cases where police publicly complain he should have acted. Sedita understands that prosecutors have ethical obligations and responsibilities that transcend headlines and politics. I have heard him say, “wrongful convictions start with wrongful arrests.” How ironic that he is being criticized for exercising his lawful discretion to demand more evidence before he formally accuses and puts an individual on trial in a court of law.

As the current president of the National District Attorneys Association and as former president of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York, I am troubled by the editorial’s ad hominem attacks on a career prosecutor who has spent over half his life serving justice and the people of Erie County. As prosecutors, my colleagues and I are painfully aware that an atmosphere has been created in this country that makes it “open season” on law enforcement. However, to take such low blows without even acknowledging that Sedita is respected and admired by his peers does a disservice to the citizens he serves.

William J. Fitzpatrick

Onondaga County District Attorney

Syracuse