The Westchester County District Attorney’s office is organized into five divisions, each supervised by a Second Deputy District Attorney. They are the:
Superior Court Trial Division
Local Criminal Courts and Grand Jury Division
Appeals and Special Litigation Division
Special Prosecutions Division.
Each division is then broken up into operational bureaus.
The Superior Court Trial Division consists of six bureaus and three units: Homicide, Major Case, Narcotics and Firearms, Career Criminal, Sex Crimes and Pleadings Bureaus and the Bias, Arson and Vehicular Crimes Units. The division prosecutes felony crimes in the Superior Courts of Westchester County. Homicide, sex crimes, and repeat violent felony offender cases are handled vertically, meaning from investigation up through grand jury presentation, plea or trial, and sentence. Other cases are transferred from the Grand Jury Bureau once an indictment is obtained and the SCTD takes it from that point to conclusion.
The Pleadings Bureau processes Superior Court information, including conferences, pleas and sentences. The SCI procedure allows a felony case to be conferenced and a disposition secured without the requirement of a Grand Jury presentation.
SCTD ADAs are also responsible for staffing the calendar parts of each supreme and county court judge who is assigned to criminal cases. There currently are seven criminal parts and include the sex offender court.
The division’s Bias Crime Unit responds to and investigates any crime that may have been motivated by racial, ethnic or religious factors. Bias crimes are also vertically prosecuted.
The SCTD maintains the Homicide Duty Roster. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, a primary homicide duty ADA and a backup homicide duty ADA are available to respond immediately to any suspicious death within Westchester County. The Sex Crimes Bureau also has an ADA on twenty-four hour call.
The Local Criminal Courts and Grand Jury Division prosecutes the bulk of the 40,000 criminal cases originating in the city, town and village courts of Westchester County. Assistant District Attorneys are assigned to the eight branch offices located throughout the County. The intent of having the eight branch offices is to have the prosecutorial services closer to the affected communities. Through the use of these branch offices, police personnel have ready access to the prosecutors in their own localities to discuss local issues. The Local Criminal Courts Bureau also works closely with the local police departments and provides training and advice on a constant basis.
The Grand Jury Bureau evaluates all general felony cases that are to be presented to a Westchester County Grand Jury. Here, Assistant District Attorneys decide on appropriate final charges, gather necessary reports and documents, interview witnesses and eventually present the cases to the Grand Jury. Grand Jury Assistant District Attorneys deal almost exclusively with felony charges.
The Appeals and Special Litigation Division consists of the Appeals Bureau and the Motions and Special Litigation Bureau which, collectively, litigate all pretrial motions in felony cases, all appeals of criminal convictions regardless of the level of offense, and any other post-conviction litigation. This includes matters in both state and federal courts. The Appeals Bureau consists of eight Assistant District Attorneys who prepare briefs and engage in oral arguments of appeals from judgments of conviction and from orders adverse to the People from which an appeal is authorized by statute. These appeals are litigated in the Appellate Term, Appellate Division, and the New York State Court of Appeals. The Bureau also responds to all appellate motions, coram nobis applications, and applications seeking leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals.
The Motions and Special Litigation Bureau is divided into two sections, and is also comprised of eight Assistant District Attorneys. The Motions Section responds to all pretrial motions in the superior courts and certain local court motions. The Special Litigation Section responds to all federal habeas corpus applications, litigates appeals in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and responds to all collateral attacks on judgments of conviction in state courts. In addition, this section handles all CPLR Article 78 proceedings, national and international extraditions, subpoenas addressed to the District Attorney’s Office, and miscellaneous post-conviction motions.
The Investigations Division is the pro-active arm of the Westchester County District Attorney’s office. The division’s 24 Assistant District Attorneys assist the 43 local police departments operating within Westchester County whenever they require assistance with electronic surveillance, forensic accounting, technology issues, tracing the movement of cell phones and many other investigative procedures. The division also conducts its own investigations into an array of criminal allegations brought to the District Attorney’s attention by crime victims, concerned citizens and other governmental agencies.
The scope of division activities is reflected in the identity of each of its six bureaus and five units.
Additionally, the division maintains a School District Frauds Unit.
The division’s 38 Criminal Investigators work not only on Investigation Division cases, but on homicides, sex crimes, child abuse, domestic violence and many other types of prosecutions brought by other divisions within the District Attorney’s Office.
The Special Prosecutions Division was originally formed as the Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit in 1978. It now comprises two bureaus - domestic violence and child abuse/elder abuse. The division investigates and supervises domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse cases throughout Westchester County.
The division has an ADA on twenty-four call to respond immediately to any police requests.
Domestic violence and child abuse aides screen domestic violence and child abuse reports, initiate and conduct investigations and act as a liaison between victims and the criminal justice system.