FRANK J. CLARK
Erie County District Attorney
The District Attorney is Erie County’s Chief Prosecutor, responsible for investigating crime, presenting evidence to the Grand Jury, and implementing the just prosecution of persons accused of criminal offenses.
The Erie County District Attorney represents the People of the State of New York in criminal cases ranging from indictments filed by Grand Juries in the Erie County and New York State Supreme Courts of the Eighth Judicial District to criminal complaints filed in the various Town, Village and City Courts. As the Chief Prosecutor in Erie County he and the Assistant District Attorneys he appoints handle cases ranging from petty offenses to capital murder.
The Office of the District Attorney primarily consists of trial attorneys responsible for the trial of felonies in Erie County and New York State Supreme Courts and misdemeanors and non-criminal offenses in the Buffalo City Court, as well as in the thirty-eight town and village courts of Erie County. The District Attorney must assemble and maintain a staff of attorneys with specialized expertise in all areas of law-enforcement ranging from arson, burglary, child-abuse, murder, narcotics, sexual assault, welfare fraud to white-collar crime. His office is among the most visible in the community, and the media offer daily reports on his decisions and actions as well as on the litigation of cases by his staff. He is expected to respond at a moments notice to any issue involving criminal activity or law enforcement.
In related duties, the District Attorney argues appeals and handles other post-conviction matters, institutes forfeiture proceedings, oversees extradition of wanted persons and litigates habeas corpus petitions brought in both state and federal court. He is charged with the responsibility of supervising the impartial, and often confidential, investigation of allegations of public corruption brought to light by media, citizens and other public officials.
The pronounced public policies of the District Attorney reflect an understanding of the importance of aggressively prosecuting violent criminals to protect against future harm and foster a sense of safety in the community. With the targeting of certain career criminals and the long sentences imposed on successfully convicted violent criminals contributing to the falling crime-rate, the Office of the District Attorney now devotes additional attention and resources to criminal activity which previously did not receive the same media attention as violent crime and narcotics offenses. Domestic violence, crimes committed by teenagers, and the quality of life crimes, which affect the ordinary citizen, are among the areas the Office of the District Attorney has recently been able to devote attention and resources.
Despite the rapidly falling crime-rate, the Office of the Erie County District Attorney handles an enormous caseload with over forty thousand new filings a year. Consequently, the office requires a large staff to oversee the successful prosecution of those cases. Consisting of more than 100 attorneys and 80 support staff, the office is the largest public law firm north of the metropolitan New York City area. The District Attorney depends on funding and grants from state and federal sources in order to maintain the high level of representation the public has grown to expect.