Search for new Niagara County DA

Posted at 6:17 PM, Mar 23, 2016

Niagara County political activists have already been hard at work looking into a new top prosecutor for the county.

District Attorney Michael Violante resigned on Monday, amidst a sexaul harassment lawsuit from one of his own Assistant District Attorney's.

Another one of Violante's former prosecutors has already thrown her hat in the ring.

Caroline Wojtaszek worked for 12 years as a prosecutor in the Niagara County District Attorney's Office, with a focus on the Special Victims Unit. She spent the last six years as a confidential law clerk to Judge Sara Sheldon in Niagara County Court.

Wojtaszek said that one of her big priorities would be to tackle the growing drug epidemic.

"There is a huge, enormous opiate and heroin problem in the County," Wojtaszek stated. "And tht needs to be a major focus of our Drug Task Force."

Wojtaszek added that she would also pay attention to "things that make people feel unsafe." Referencing a "string of shootings," she added that she would focus on, "house burglaries, muggings on the street. I want to make Niagara Falls great and safe."

Wojtaszek said tht she has not spoken with either political party.

However, both Democrats and Republicans have started the search for DA candidates to endorse.

Niagara County Democrats already have a group of lawyers in the party searching for a short-list of candidates. The party's chairperson said he wants a special election.

"What's going on in the Niagara County District Attorney's Office," said Committee Chairperson Nicholas Forster. "We need a fresh start. So I would say that we need somebody at the helm right away."

Republicans added that a special election could be a possibility. That decision would be up to Governor Andrew Cuomo (D).

Chairperson Scott Kiewdrowski said that the Niagara County Republican Committee has already received multiple calls from people interested in the position.

"There's certainly a lot of talk amongst the legal community about who would be a great candidate," Kiewdrowski said. "As more and more individuals think about it, I'm sure they're going to throw their hat in the ring."

The Niagara County Democratic Committee plans to meet on Thursday evening, and could have a short list or even a candidate by then.

Republicans hope to have someone to endorse by the time it meets about multiple local races in April.