Melinda Katz – Democrat – Citizens Union’s Endorsed Candidate
Occupation: Queens Borough President
Education: University of Massachusetts Amherst, B.A.; Saint John’s University, J.D.
Melinda Katz is a Democrat running for the position of Queens District Attorney. In 2013 Katz was first elected to serve as the Queens Borough Preside and previously served as representative of the Queens 28th District in the New York State Assembly from 1994 until 1999. Katz also served as Chair of the Subcommittee on Urban Health during this time and authored 16 bills that became laws, most relating to healthcare initiatives. After her time in the New York State Assembly, Katz served as the Director of Community Boards for the Office of the Queens Borough President until 2002, when she was elected to represent the 29th District in the New York City Council. Katz’ campaign for Queens District Attorney is focused on her promises to reduce gun violence, to end cash bail and institute discovery reform, to diversify the Queens District Attorney’s office to more accurately represent the borough of Queens, to create a Conviction Integrity Unit in the office, and to protect immigrants and workers in Queens. Katz highlights the relationships and connections she has made during her extensive political career in Queens as a unique advantage to her campaign. Citizens Union endorses Katz based on her long political career and deep commitment and knowledge of Queens. Citizens Union believes having prosecutorial experience is an important part of the District Attorney position, and neither of the candidates possesses such background. However, Katz has demonstrated strong organizational and leadership capabilities that will allow her to manage the experienced legal staff of the DA’s office and to strengthen relationships with the diverse communities in Queens.
Melinda Katz Questionnaire
Joseph W. Murray – Republican
Occupation: Criminal Defense Lawyer
Education: CUNT Queens College, B.A.; CUNY School of Law, J.D.
Murray is a criminal defense lawyer who heads a law firm in Kew Gardens, Queens. Before becoming a lawyer, he was as an NYPD officer for 15 years (1987-2002), serving in Queens and Manhattan. In 1993 he was arrested and charged with assaulting another officer on duty, but a grand jury declined to indict him. Murray’s top priorities are dealing with violent crimes and the possession and use of illegal firearms; rooting out corruption in government and protecting the integrity of elections; implementing common sense enforcement and prosecution of quality of life offenses and misdemeanor crimes; and addressing the growing anti-police rhetoric and increased violence directed at police officers. As DA, he would also establish a conviction integrity review unit. Murray also promises to form an “Untouchables Squad” to investigate corruption, and stresses that his relative independence from both political parties will allow him to do so. On police misconduct and oversight, Murray criticizes the way the Police Department investigates itself, and the work of the Internal Affairs Bureau, but believes that the Mayor and political ranks are interfering with the real job of policing. To reduce the problem of false testimonies, he proposes that police officers enjoy the same immunity from civil liability that prosecutors and judges do. Citizens Union believes Murray shows a good understanding of the District Attorney’s office and energy to work on the issues at hand, and appreciates the unique perspective he brings as a defense attorney and former police officer.
Joe Murray Questionnaire