MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson says he and his staff have accomplished a lot in four-plus years, and he says he’s not done yet.
WNYNewsNow spoke with Swanson extensively during a one-on-one interview Thursday. The Fredonia Democrat is running against fellow Fredonia native, and Republican Jason Schmidt, who was defeated by the incumbent Swanson in 2016.
Swanson was asked why he wanted to run for a second term. He says he has more he wants to achieve more than what him and his team have since he became acting DA, and later DA, in 2016.
“We’ve done a lot of things here that I think have moved this office in the right direction,” Swanson said. “But there’s a lot left to do here to improve upon this office.” Swanson says one of his biggest goals is to build his staff to where it needs to be to handle its caseload each and every year.
In addition, Swanson says public service to Chautauqua County is very important to him.
Swanson was also asked about criticisms that he faced from Schmidt regarding the amount of communication with victims in violent felony cases. He says that his staff is dedicated to help the victims of crimes as cases proceed in court.
“There are always going to be individual cases where when we do our review, we wish we would’ve done this or that,” Swanson said. “But, it’s mildly insulting to say that our staff doesn’t communicate with victims. We’re very committed to that.”
Several viewers over the course of Swanson’s tenure have publicly criticized the law enforcement official for multiple high-profile cases that have resulted in mistrials or acquittals. He explains that he understands the frustration, but he also reminded the voters that everyone in the courtroom, regardless of position, has several legal and ethical obligations they are required to follow.
“As a public official, you welcome regular and frequent evaluation. It’s part of the job,” Swanson said. “People want to see certain things, and they want to see the same result every time….People get acquitted because the level of evidence isn’t there. There’s a high burden of proof to convict somebody of a crime in this country, and there should be.”
Swanson says his staff undergoes extensive training each and every year to make sure they are properly performing their jobs each and every year.
The incumbent recently received an endorsement from the Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Police. Swanson, who also received the organization’s endorsement in 2016, says the endorsement is “absolutely critical” in showing the voters who they should support in this year’s election.
Viewers can watch the interview with the DA in the video above, or, by clicking here.
WNYNewsNow will continue to provide coverage of the 2020 District Attorney’s race.