Michael Korchak is the Libertarian candidate for Broome County district attorney. He is currently the Broome County chief assistant district attorney, and has worked as an attorney for roughly 30 years. Originally from the Bronx, Korchak holds a law degree from Pace University.

Why are you running for your position? What experiences and perspectives do you bring to the table that will help make Broome a better county?

“Currently I am the chief assistant [district attorney]. In my 30 years as a lawyer, I have been a prosecutor, a defense attorney and a judge. I was raised in the Bronx. After graduation from Holy Cross College and Pace University Law School, I served as an assistant DA for seven years in the Bronx DA’s office, where I developed my skills as a trial attorney. I have prosecuted thousands of the most heinous criminals, including murderers, drug dealers, child molesters [and] the first murder first-degree conviction ever in Broome County. The job of the DA is to evaluate cases, train younger attorneys, take difficult cases to trial and achieve justice for victims. Only an attorney with years of experience of working with law enforcement and crime victims is qualified to lead the DA’s office. It would be an injustice to victims to elect someone who has never served as a prosecutor.”

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue facing Broome County as it pertains to the district attorney’s office and why?

“As a procedural question, two major laws go into effect on Jan. 1. Bail reform legislation will mean that a person charged with most misdemeanors or nonviolent felony offenses will not be incarcerated. Exceptions will include domestic violence, criminal contempt and certain sex offenses. More individuals are expected to be placed in the Department of Probation’s Pretrial Release Program. This will be an additional burden on the county’s understaffed probation department. The second new law is the Discovery Reform Bill. This will require prosecutors to turn over to the defendant all witness statements, police reports and body camera recordings within 15 days of arraignment. There are approximately 1,500 felony cases and 3,000 misdemeanor cases each year. This will be a challenge for the police to quickly provide us with the required documents. Witnesses may be less likely to cooperate because by law, their identity will be turned over to the defendant.”

How would you address opioid and drug problem in the county? Please explain with specific details.

“The Broome County DA’s Office is already addressing this problem. Over the last four years, drug overdose deaths have been cut in half. This has been accomplished by vigorously prosecuting drug dealers and working with the Broome County Health Department, Broome County Emergency Services and law enforcement to educate the public, especially our youth, as to the dangers of drug use. The DA’s office has placed school resource officers into our schools to help belter educate our children and spot those at risk. Drug Treatment Court has also been expanded to provide treatment to users in need rather than incarceration. The DA’s office has also implemented several ‘diversion’ programs for nonviolent offenders to provide job training and employment opportunities that allows their charges to be dismissed. Though we have made significant gains, the drug problem in all of upstate New York is a difficult challenge that we face every day.”

Do you believe that the district attorney’s office should put more resources toward the prosecution of cybercrimes, such as identity theft and internet fraud?

“Due to the fact that cybercrimes may be committed from anywhere in the world, it is important that the DA’s office have a close working relationship with the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The current DA’s office has this relationship, having worked jointly with these agencies to conduct investigations leading to the arrest of cybercriminals that perpetrate crimes against citizens and students. This is a necessary relationship, since the County DA’s Office may not have jurisdiction or the resources to locate and prosecute all cybercriminals. The DA’s office has met with senior citizens as well as students to educate them as to the latest frauds, scams and identity theft operations. Our office has also worked with the local FBI on internet child sex crimes. Due to this ever-changing online world, it is important that the office keeps abreast of changes in technology.”