NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Longtime Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes is in a bitter primary battle against a young upstart. It’s a race that will either strip Hynes of his job or give him a seventh term.
Hynes, who people call “Joe,” was at the West Indian Day Parade, part of the final stretch of a campaign to win the Democratic nomination for district attorney. He told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer there’s one reason why he should get the nod.
“My record,” he said. “We’ve established more progressive programs to help more people in trouble than any DA in the country.”
Opponent Kenneth Thompson, who represented the hotel maid in the headline-grabbing sexual abuse case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, begs to differ.
“The Brooklyn DA’s office is in crisis. The Brooklyn DA’s office every day is coming out with new scandals,” Thompson said.
It’s a race that could hinge on experience versus new blood. Hynes has been in office for nearly 24 years and is 78. Thompson is 47.
Thompson, who once served as an assistant U.S. Attorney, knocked the conviction rate posted by Hynes’ office.
“The DA has the lowest felony conviction rate in the city. The Brooklyn DA also has the second lowest conviction rate for gun crimes,” Thompson said.
“If that was true, I guess the streets of Brooklyn would be flowing with blood,” Hynes responded.
Hynes said his conviction numbers are low due to alternative sentencing programs like the drug treatment initiative that allows defendants who complete rehab to have the charges against them dismissed.
Thompson also knocked Hynes for what he claims is a hesitancy to go after sexual abusers in the Hasidic Jewish community and that he makes derogatory remarks about the Hasidim.
“He said they’re worse than the mafia and he said their street patrols are like the Crips and the Bloods,” Thompson said.
Hynes denied that charge and said he set up a system where religious Jews who were abused could come forward privately so they wouldn’t face harassment.
“The results have been tremendous. We’ve indicted 118 people,” Hynes said.
Like all the other city races, turnout will be all important. Both men have important endorsements. The winner will be the one who actually gets his voters to the polls.
The primary election is next Tuesday.
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