Search for new state’s attorney begins
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | January 28,2013
The search for the new Windsor County state’s attorney has begun.
Two candidates are vying to replace outgoing State’s Attorney Robert Sand, whom Gov. Peter Shumlin recently appointed to develop a new DUI court system. According to Windsor County Democratic Committee Chairman William Kuch, 78 delegates will meet at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at Damon Hall in Hartland to nominate the new state’s attorney.
Once they have selected a nominee, the committee will inform Shumlin and Shumlin will make a decision on the appointment. According to Kuch, many Windsor County Democrats will be watching the process very closely.
“It may not be as high profile as appointing a state senator, but there’s a lot of interest. Both candidates are very qualified,” Kuch said.
David Cahill, Democrat of Norwich, is a Windsor County deputy state’s attorney interested in becoming the new state’s attorney. He has served for seven years at criminal court in White River Junction.
Cahill graduated from Dartmouth College with a major in history and German and received his law degree from the University of Minnesota. According to a state’s attorney’s office charge statistics report, he has filed thousands of charges in a variety of criminal, civil and investigative matters in Windsor County.
Cahill said Windsor County residents and law enforcement officials want to know if the new state’s attorney will be tough on drug dealers and users. According to Cahill, it’s not an either/or solution, but one that requires creative approaches.
Cahill supports criminal sentences that reduce a person’s future risk of harm. He said giving first-time offenders and substance abusers the necessary tools to move back into society improves the criminal justice system and spends taxpayer dollars wisely.“It’s not a matter of being tough on crime or soft on crime.I think the paradigm needs to change in how we can be smart, effective and innovative on crime,” Cahill said. “I’m the type of person who is always looking for ways to innovate within our system. I believe I can best fulfill that function as the elected and appointed state’s attorney.”
Michael Kainen, a former Republican turned Democrat of Hartford, is an Orange County deputy state’s attorney. He was a private practice attorney, four-term state representative and executive director of the State Sentencing Commission.
Kainen has worked with the Windsor County state’s attorney’s office for 20 years on a variety of cases. He is also aware that taxpayers care about how their money is spent and whether the new state’s attorney will approach drug cases differently than Sand.
According to Kainen, major drug dealers who come to Vermont to sell large quantities are the ones the state should prosecute. As for drug users who get arrested, treatment and drug prevention are what works best, he said.
“I don’t know if I would part substantially from Sand’s philosophy,” Kainen said. “You treat drug addiction as a public health issue rather than a crime issue. I share the view that the criminal justice system should be used for treatment purposes. Would they like to go to treatment or jail? That should be asked.”
Candidates interested in nominating themselves should contact Kuch at 885-6388. Sand will effectively retire as Windsor County state’s attorney March 25, Kuch said.