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Caccaviello declines to explain his stance on crucial criminal justice issues

In their letter to the editor Tracy Baker-White, Ali Benjamin and Jessica Dils write: "Andrea Harrington is the only name on the ballot, in part because she was willing stand up and say what she stands for and how she'd use the power of the office."

To the editor:

Statewide, Massachusetts had 15 candidates running for District Attorney in the September 4 primaries. The ACLU asked all candidates to confirm their positions on critically important issues related to criminal justice reform. They made the request on behalf of voters like us, so we’d have a fair, consistent way to evaluate the individuals asking for our votes. Thirteen candidates — 87 percent — responded thoughtfully. Two refused to provide any answers whatsoever. Paul Caccaviello, Berkshire County’s incumbent DA, was one of those two. Similarly, Caccaviello didn’t attend a racial justice forum in Great Barrington where similar questions were asked.

Perhaps he made a shrewd, if cynical, political bet: as long as the two women challengers split the progressive vote, he’d slide into a primary win without ever having made commitments to criminal justice reform. Caccaviello lost his bet, and he lost the race.

Now, he’s asking for our votes…again. But he still hasn’t said where he stands on issues that Berkshire County has demonstrated — clearly and decisively — matter to us. Nine out of ten Berkshire County residents were eligible to vote in the September primary. Of those who did, a clear majority, nearly 64 percent, chose one of two candidates brave enough, and transparent enough, to go on the record with commitments to specific policies.

Caccaviello has likely known since at least January that he’d run for office — even if he did keep it secret from his constituents for months. He is quick to mention his decades of prosecutorial experience. Surely all that time has given him ample opportunity to define and refine his positions. So, one last time: what are they? What’s his stance on mandatory minimums? On monetary bail reform? Juvenile justice? Electronic surveillance? What data will he make available to increase transparency and accountability in our DA’s office? Will he commit to creating transparent protocols for cases of police misconduct, so all parties can feel confident in the process? What might these protocols look like?

His unwillingness to answer questions with clarity and specifics remains, to us, wholly disqualifying. That’s why we’re voting for Andrea Harrington. She’s the only name on the ballot, in part because she was willing stand up and say what she stands for and how she’d use the power of the office. That transparency will be a refreshing change.

Tracy Baker-White

Ali Benjamin

Jessica Dils

Williamstown

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