Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 6, 2008

NIAGARA COUNTY: New DA is for the people

LOCKPORT — He doesn’t actually have his own office yet and by his own admission, he’s “learning the ropes.”

Still, all you have to do is ask new Niagara County District Attorney Michael Violante, “How ya doing?” and the look on his face shows he’s happy after 37 years as a defense attorney, that he changed sides in the war on crime.

“I reached a point where I outlived my desire to defend,” he said. “The desire to fight hard for the people I was representing was growing thin and the opportunity (to run for DA) was there.”

He takes over the reins of what he quickly points out is the largest law firm in the county, after having spent time leading the second largest firm, the Public Defender’s Office.

“I was aware of some things about how the (DA’s) office operated from being on the other side,” Violante said. “But I have to learn the inner workings of this office.”

The new boss has spent much of first few days on the job, he officially took over on Wednesday, meeting with the 22 prosecutors and dozen plus support staff who make up the DA’s office. He’s been pleased by what he’s found.

Despite the relative youth of his staff of prosecutors, Violante said they are a talented group of lawyers.

“There are several (younger) members of the staff who have tried felony cases in the past and there are some (more veteran prosecutors) who are a source of direction for the younger attorneys,” Violante said. “All the attorneys in this office are willing to help each other to get the best results for the people. It’s pleasant to see and makes my job easier.”

A lifelong resident of Niagara Falls, Violante, 62, is married with four children. He got his undergraduate college degree from Boston College and then received his law degree from Suffolk Law School.

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