Caccaviello to mount write-in campaign

Berkshire County DA says Harrington too inexperienced

THE INCUMBENT DISTRICT ATTORNEY in Berkshire County, who came in second in the three-person Democratic primary, says he is not giving up and plans to run for the office as a write-in candidate.

Paul Caccaviello said he felt compelled to continue his campaign because of the lack of prosecutorial experience of the Democratic primary winner, Andrea Harrington. “This is the chief law enforcement officer. She has never prosecuted a case in court, so that is causing a lot of concern for people,” he said in a telephone interview.

Caccaviello also said many people have urged him to keep running. “People kept coming up to me and saying that they didn’t realize there was a primary or they didn’t switch their affiliation in time,” he said. “There was a groundswell of support and not just from my supporters but from people I didn’t know.”

Harrington, who has worked as a defense and employment lawyer for the past 15 years in western Massachusetts and Florida, expressed confidence she will prevail. “We won the Democratic primary election because Berkshire County residents want a new direction in the justice system,” she said in a statement.

Harrington has raised about $100,000 in contributions, roughly twice the amount that Caccaviello has raised.

 Caccaviello’s write-in campaign means he will face off one-on-one against Harrington because there is no Republican running for the office. In the primary, he lost by less than 700 votes, garnering 37 percent of the total compared to 40 percent for Harrington and 23 percent for the third candidate, Judy Knight.

Caccaviello has spent 30 years in the DA’s office, taking over as the district attorney earlier this year when David Capeless stepped down in an orchestrated move to allow Caccaviello to run as an incumbent. That advantage didn’t put him over the top in the primary, but Caccaviello hopes his experience can help overcome the hurdles of a write-in campaign to claim victory in the final election.

In an earlier interview, Caccaviello said incumbency wasn’t a major advantage for him. “Usually when people talk about incumbent advantage, they are talking about people who have war chests and political machines,” he said. “I’ve never run for anything in my life. I’m not running on five months of being the titled DA. I’m running on 30 years of experience, 15 murder trials and over 300 tried cases.”

In her statement, Harrington described her platform as “prioritizing treatment over incarceration for non-violent drug offenses, standing up for victims of crime, and aggressively prosecuting violent criminals and traffickers of heroin and fentanyl.  Voters put their trust in my vision and experience, and I look forward to fighting each and every day to make our region a safer and healthier place to live.”

During the primary race, Knight and Harrington both argued that Caccaviello’s office dropped sexual assault and domestic violence cases that should have been pursued.

Meet the Author
Caccaviello said that Harrington’s emphasis on the defendant has raised alarms for some Berkshire County residents.  He says his office is victim-oriented and focused on public safety.  He said his approach to prosecutable domestic violence cases is to proceed as long as it is safe to do so. For example, if the offender does not have a record and is unlikely to go to jail, there is a possibility he could go home that night and reoffend against his victim.  “In that case, holy mackerel, we’ve just made things worse. We don’t want to do that,” he said.

Caccivello also said Harrington has mischaracterized the law enforcement and incarceration situation in Berkshire County. “Substance abuse plays a role in the majority of the cases we see, but there is no one serving time for simple possession of a substance. She has been talking about stopping mass incarceration, which doesn’t apply in this county,” he said. “While there may be many areas across the country where that is happening, that is not happening locally.  That’s just not accurate.”

The census at Berkshire County’s House of Correction’s 500-bed facility usually runs around 180 inmates, less than half of its capacity, he said.