Campaign Heats Up In St. Lawrence County DA Race

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In the 8 years that Nicole Duve has been St. Lawrence County District Attorney, she has seen convictions, plea bargains and some jury-decided acquittals for everything from murder and sexual assaults to drug trafficking and thefts. 

"No matter how hard the going gets, we don't walk away, we don't turn away, we don't run away," said Duve, who's a Democrat.

Operating out of limited office space scattered with boxes of files from high-profile and pending cases, Duve took us on a tour of the prosecutor's work area - from the war room, where cases are prepared for trial - to cramped offices for her team of assistants.

She pointed to successes not only in the courtroom but through community-based prosecution efforts, the creation of a countywide DNA collection policy and grants that help save taxpayer dollars.
 
Duve defended her office from what she described as "distortions and misrepresentations" from her challenger, former county public defender Mary Rain.

"People need justice and right now it's not occuring with our present district attorney," said Rain, who's a Republican.

"To suggest that I don't work hard every day to make sure that my office can do what it can for the people of St. Lawrence County is just wrong and is far from the truth," said Duve.

Rain has been a police officer, a prosecutor and defense attorney.

Since she was relieved of her administrative responsibilities as public defender by county legislators in March of 2011, she has been gearing up to try to unseat Duve.

Her campaign has focused on an "accountability tour" - pointing to weaknesses she feels makes Duve ineffective as prosecutor.

"You want to make sure that your district attorney has compassion, is accessible and will respond to your needs," said Rain.

In the only two times the candidates went head-to-head at trial in the courtroom, Duve won both times.

They go head-to-head again on November 5 during the general election.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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