It’s one of the biggest races in Broome County this year, and the man who presently holds the job isn’t running.
Attorney Paul Battisti and former Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan are vying in November to become the next Broome County district attorney. It comes after County District Attorney Mike Korchak lost a primary in June to Battisti, meaning the county's next top prosecutor will come from the other side of the courtroom in 2024.
That's because Battisti worked as a defense attorney for nearly 20 years, while Ryan served as a former public defender of 15 years, including 10 years of pro bono work. Both say that defense experience could actually help rethink the county’s approach on crime moving forward.
What You Need To Know
- County District Attorney Mike Korchak lost the Republican primary to Paul Battisti
- Since Korchak did not secure any third-party lines, he cannot run in the general election
- Matt Ryan was Binghamton mayor from 2006 until 2013
- Battisti is a longtime defense attorney in the Binghamton area
"The rules of evidence, regardless of what side of the aisle you're on, are exactly the same. How not better to know what the defense is going to do than having been a defense attorney for almost 20 years? I've been in the court system since day 1, from the federal level all the way down to local courts,” said Battisti, the Republican district attorney candidate.
"This system can be better. And the reason that's important is because if you don't do the kinds of reforms that need to be done, which means find ways to prevent crime in the first place. Yeah, you got to as a prosecutor, obviously, you have to vigorously prosecute crime. But if you're not doing anything to prevent crime in the first place, then you're only doing half your job," said Ryan, a Democrat.
One crucial issue the new DA will face moving forward is addressing the increase in drug use and fatal overdoses. Currently, the county’s “drug court” numbers are well below where they once were.
So what’s the solution?
"We have to find another way. It's not, there's no way you can prosecute your way out of that. So I want to vigorously work on having the best programs possible. I've been meeting with all the people who support people who have substance use disorder, and I think we can do much better than that respect as well," said Ryan.
"We need to ensure that those courtrooms are packed. We need to save lives. And we do that by evaluating every single case. So people out there that are struggling, people are out there that are hurting, we help them as a criminal justice system the best we can, because if not, they'll end up dying. If not, they end out continuing to re-offend," said Battisti.
From the defense to the prosecution, both men will be vying for a big career chance in 2024.
Korchak lost the Republican primary to Battisti. Since he did not secure any third-party lines, he cannot run in the general election.