Ulster County is finally moving forward, as new District Attorney Dave Clegg was sworn in during a public ceremony Friday. Clegg officially took over the job in a private swearing-in ceremony late last week.
It took two months of absentee ballot counting and a full vote recount for Clegg to officially be deemed the winner of the election for the spot; that's after Election Day had left him three votes behind rival and former Chief Assistant DA Mike Kavanagh.
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Clegg says he's motivated now to make a positive change in Ulster County.
A major plank in Clegg's campaign platform, using restorative justice to help marginalized communities, may be disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system. Clegg says he wants more programs to reach youth early and to keep them out of the system. Clegg is taking over the DA's office, as New York lawmakers continue to deal with the aftermath of the controversial bail reform bill.
He says judicial discretion is important when it comes to deciding bail. Clegg thinks judges should have that restored with changes to the law, and he agrees there is still work to be done.
"I do think the law should be tweaked. I think there should be an amendment. Jen Metzger has introduced a bill, I've joined in introducing the bill, which I think will help," Clegg said, "including a provision for dangerousness. The key is we don't want to be putting people in prison because they are poor. We don't want them laying about in prison; we want them out in their community."