Updated 09/05/2012 11:01 PM
Albany County District Attorney candidates debate
The two Democratic candidates for Albany County District Attorney faced off Wednesday evening. Innae Park has more on the debate between incumbent David Soares and challenger Lee Kindlon.
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COLONIE, N.Y. – Two men with years serving the public under their belt debated the issues facing the Albany County District Attorney’s Office Wednesday night, beginning with how they would curb violent crime in the county.
Challenger Lee Kindlon promoted what he called a “rocket docket,” where suspects would be put on trial sooner and the guilty then behind bars faster. That speed would serve as a warning to potential perpetrators.
“These things will then not happen in Albany County because they will know the District Attorney will be coming for them. They know it’ll happen not in a year, but a matter of months.”
However, incumbent DA David Soares says it’s not possible.
“Unless he’s running for judge, I don’t know who else controls the docket,” he said. Soares relied on numbers to show the county’s record of incarcerating criminals. He said, “Albany County remains among the highest [in the state] at 87.9-percent.”
When talking about how to get youth off the streets, Soares cited his involvement with ENOUGH, a joint anti-violence program, and his efforts to give kids the opportunity to be involved in activities interesting to them. But Kindlon charged back, saying the two-term DA invested too much in the one program and not others. Soares did name other programs he was involved in, including Albany City Schools and Albany Pop Warner.
Each presented his plan for juvenile justice reform.
Kindlon said, “How about making sure kids are given check marks every couple of months? ‘Hey, you have a job? You volunteer? Take care of your family? You doing everything you’re supposed to do? You do those things, you come back every couple months, and you show the district attorney’s office some improvement, we’re going to work with you.’”
Soares’ plan is to take funds and place them in the community. “Put resources and invest it back into the community so our ex-offenders who are coming back to the community are actually coming back to opportunity.”
They were in clear opposition over the handling of Occupy Albany.
“I would handle it the same way I handled it the first time,” said Soares.
Kindlon responded, “Granting block immunity to a certain group of individuals because it may be politically convenient or may agree with their message is certainly irresponsible as a district attorney,” and argued that this would set a dangerous precedence for any other protesting group.
Tensions got even more heated as Soares claimed Kindlon was familiar with the Christopher Porco case. Kindlon responded by saying it was his father who defended the Delmar man, not him.
Despite all the jabs during the debate and throughout the campaign, the last question of the night was to say something kind about the opponent. Kindlon said Soares was a good father whose children loved him. Soares also called Kindlon a good father, but added that he was a gentleman and thanked him for his years of public service.
Primary Day is September 13.