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Longtime prosecutor James McCarty ’79 is taking on a substantial new role after the confirmation of Janet DiFiore as New York’s chief judge.
McCarty was recently named acting District Attorney of Westchester County, a high-profile job in the area just north of New York City. In a statement, McCarty said he looked forward “to leading the excellent staff” assembled by DiFiore, who served as the county’s district attorney for the past decade.
"It has been an absolute honor to serve under Janet DiFiore during her tenure,” McCarty said, according to the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office. “There is no one serving in the public sector that I hold in higher esteem.”
Unless an interim district attorney is named by Gov. Andrew Cuomo ’82, McCarty will hold the position until a special election is held in November.
"I plan to just keep pointing (the office) in the same direction Janet DiFiore had it pointed in," he told The Journal News. "I see this as a challenge I really look forward to and a fantastic opportunity."
McCarty has worked under three district attorneys — including Albany Law alumna Jeanine Pirro ’75 — since joining the Westchester County prosecutor’s office in 1980.
He’s no stranger to the public eye. As an assistant district attorney and later as first deputy DA, McCarty successfully prosecuted several front-page cases, including charges against serial killer Patrick Baxter and Carolyn Warmus in the so-called “Fatal Attraction” murder trial.
"Whether you're on his side or against him you know where you stand. He's thoroughly professional, an incredible lawyer and an ultimate gentleman," defense attorney and former detective John D'Alessandro told The Journal News. "He's the perfect person to lead that office. He's got the respect of the entire office and probably all of the defense bar also."