DA candidates tackle diversity, inequities in Boston Bar forum

Five candidates vying for the Suffolk County District Attorney seat participated in a forum hosted by the Boston Bar association last week, wth much of the emphasis on systemic inequities in prosecution and lack of diversity in the DA’s office itself.

Four of them— Evandro Carvalho, Greg Henning, Shannon McAuliffe, and Rachael Rollins — will be on the Sept. 4 ballot for the Democratic primary. Michael Maloney, a Brockton-based lawyer, is running as unenrolled and will be on the general ballot in November to face the Democratic nominee.

Linda Champion, the fifth Democrat and a former Suffolk prosecutor did not attend the forum.

Moderated by law professors Daniel Medwood and Christina Miller, the full forum is available on the Boston Bar Facebook page.

Carvalho said during his time in Dorchester as a former Suffolk prosecutor, he saw “people from my community...cycling in and out of the system.” He called for better transparency in the office with regard to how cases are being pursued.

Former head of the Suffolk DA’s gang unit, Henning called for “creating an unsolved shooting team to address the crisis of firearms.”

Maloney, a Brockton-based attorney, agreed with his fellow candidates’ calls for better data collection. He also wants to “expand diversionary programs beyond the juvenile court.”

The district attorney’s office fell short in several areas, said McAuliffe, director of Roca, a nonprofit that works with high-risk youths in the criminal justice system. “I see an office that refused to back the crime bill, refuses to address racism that’s happening in the courtrooms, and also is arguing against people recording police officers. That’s what this office has done,” she said.

Rollins, a former state and federal prosecutor and legal counsel for the MBTA and Massport, said, she will increase the diversity in the office by “probably 6,082 percent, because there are no women and people of color in upper leadership.”