NORWICH – The Chenango County District Attorney's Office hired a new attorney earlier this month, a lawyer who says he plans to use his 28 years of legal experience to benefit the county, and help to ensure each case is handled fairly for every victim and defendant.
In an interview with First Assistant District Attorney James Snashall on Monday, he described his work in the legal field, his philosophy regarding the fair treatment of defendants throughout the criminal justice system, and his reasons for joining the Chenango County District Attorney's Office.
"I was born and raised in Broome County, I went to Chenango Valley High School and then to Binghamton University," said Snashall. "I graduated from Binghamton University with honors and then I went to the only state law school in New York State – SUNY Buffalo."
Snashall said since his graduation at SUNY Buffalo he has worked in a number of legal positions including as a administrative judge, as a member of a special litigation unit for New York City Office of Corporation Council, and as an Assistant District Attorney focused on financial crimes in Broome County.
"If you get a conviction without having a fair trial first, you've really lost," said Shashall. "You want to make sure the accused is treated fairly, it's their constitutional right."
He said many of the lessons he learned came from the district attorney he worked for in Brooklyn District Attorney's Office with that office's work towards helping drug addicts overcome their addictions by placing them in treatment programs instead of jail.
"It's unfortunate, but a lot of people – when they have a drug problem – tend to break the law in a variety of ways," said Snashall. "25 years ago we were working on different types of programs to help these people who are accused of crimes, to combat their addiction and get out of the criminal justice cycle."
He said without that chance to break the cycle, individuals may spend their entire lives in and out of prison.
"It's really hard for the person and it's also difficult for their families," said Snashall. "It's also difficult for them to get help as sometimes family members don't understand why they need treatment at all."
He said there's a simple way to look at drug and alcohol treatment programs...