The incumbent and challenger for District Attorney in Cortland County are expected at a League of Women Voters Meet the Candidates night Thursday night.
Speaking with reporters recently, Republican Pat Perfetti said he believes some involved with drugs in Cortland County currently feel entitled to break the law.
“My opponent’s “tenure of neglect has led an element of our community to believe that it can carry on illicit activities with impunity,” said Perfetti.
Incumbent Democrat Mark Suben pointed out, “Our record of conviction, we’ve demonstrated that we know how to try cases successfully and that we put seriously bad guys away. We do that regularly, (in an) overwhelming majority of cases, we do that.”
Perfetti discussed his approach to fighting drugs.
“I’ve developed a three-point anti-drug policy platform, that I will implement if elected in November. First, Education and Prevention. Second, Treatment and Diversion. And Third, Enforcement and Prosecution.”
His target: drug dealers and manufacturers.
“I am a seasoned litigator,” said Perfetti, “who will not hesitate to prosecute those who are discovered to be involved in drug trafficking or manufacturing. Those who create and distribute poison for profit will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Perfetti also proposes more use of drug court and an Angel program, where users can turn in drugs and paraphernalia and get into treatment without being arrested.
When asked about the costs involved in establishing a new social program, he said, “My understanding of it is largely from reading media accounts, but, to the extent that it can avoid prosecution, there is to be a cost savings.”
Perfetti pledged to personally oversee and be a strong advocate for the use of drug court.
“In addition to helping get an addict get clean, proper use of drug court can aid the first time, non-violent offender to avoid the stigma of a criminal conviction and reduce the likelihood of recidivism.”
He admits it can often take a year for someone to successfully complete drug court, but it does keep them out of the County Jail, which he calls unproductive and an expensive cost to the community.
District Attorney Mark Suben says Drug Court is good and he believes it is currently used in Cortland County very effectively.
The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a Meet The Candidates Night Thursday at 7 at 51 Port Watson Street in Cortland.