I decided to run for the Onondaga County District Attorney because I wanted to protect the people of the county. On February 21, 2023, the county Conservative Party endorsed a career defense attorney who still supports the New York State criminal justice “reforms” that make prosecution more difficult. The Conservative Party Line usually receives more votes in the general election than the number of voters who are registered within the party. Many people vote on the Conservative Party Line because they believe that the party leaders have properly interviewed the candidates and expect that the endorsed candidates hold Conservative Party principles. Since this was not the case, I knew that as a former prosecutor with over 30 years of experience and a registered member of the Conservative Party, it was my duty to run for District Attorney.
When a career defense attorney becomes a prosecutor, that person cannot change what is in their soul. A defense attorney represents one person and the main goal is to get the person off, no matter the charges, the situation or how it needs to be done. A prosecutor represents the entire community and the main goal is always justice – for the community and especially for the victim, making sure that restitution is paid to harmed parties, working with the defendant so that person can turn their life around or even sometimes needing to drop cases because justice would not be served. The District Attorney needs to look at the big picture to ensure that the community is as safe as possible.
The Conservative voters of Onondaga County have chosen public safety over change for the sake of change in the June 27th Primary. When considering how you vote, please understand why a career defense attorney is the worst choice for Onondaga County. If elected, I will work within the law, but also use every opportunity I have to speak with our community’s legislators in Albany so we can restore the security we lost beginning with the 2019 legislative session.
Having a career defense attorney who supports these laws as District Attorney would be a disaster in Onondaga county just as in NYC – the D.A.’s office will no longer be motivated to prosecute cases because the D.A. has never prosecuted a single case and he has only sought to get charges dismissed. Justice would not be served in any situation.
I had to run for District Attorney to protect the Conservative Party line and, more importantly, to protect Onondaga County from having a pro-criminal defense attorney as the chief law enforcement officer. Safety and justice must prevail.
I am a lifelong resident of Onondaga County and I understand how successful prosecution works here. I graduated Cum laude from Syracuse University College of Law and worked in private practice at first, making appearances in Supreme Court and Family Court. I started working as an Assistant District Attorney in Onondaga County in 1984 under my maiden name Christine Sztechmiler. During my 33 years, I worked in the City Court, D.W.I. (including working in county and supreme courts, and presented cases to the grand jury), and Justice Court (for all the towns and villages of Onondaga County) Bureaus. I fought for victims, negotiated with defense lawyers on making sure justice was served and even enjoyed helping defendants when they truly wanted to turn their life around. I retired from the office in 2016 when my husband was found to be terminally ill. I still have practiced law, assisting with research for several law firms and other tasks. I maintain my Continuing Legal Education credits when I renew my law license.
Christine Varga for District Attorney
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