WILLIAM J. FITZPATRICK
County of Onondaga County Criminal Courthouse, 4th Floor
505 South State Street
Syracuse, New York 13202
FOR RELEASE: July 19, 2015
National District Attorney’s Association Swears in
Onondaga County District Attorney William J. Fitzpatrick
On July 20, 2015, the Honorable William J. Fitzpatrick, District Attorney of Onondaga County in Syracuse, New York was sworn in as the 64th President of the National District Attorney’s Association at its annual summer conference in Chicago, Illinois. District Attorney Fitzpatrick takes the helm of an association whose primary mission is to support and speak for America’s prosecutors who pursue justice on behalf of the citizens they serve.
“It is an honor and a privilege to lead the NDAA during the next year in our mission to support all our colleagues across this great nation,” Fitzpatrick said. “I look forward to working with America’s prosecutors as we continue to create innovative and effective strategies in improving the quality of justice in our court system and dispel the false narrative that our justice system is ‘broken.’ Every prosecutor in this country takes an oath to pursue justice and to perform their duties and ethical responsibilities with integrity. There is no group in the country that wants to prevent wrongful convictions more than we do or that fight harder for innocent victims of crime.”
For over 37 years, the last 24 as the elected District Attorney, Mr. Fitzpatrick has served the people of Onondaga County in Syracuse, New York. He has the respect of his peers across New York State and around the nation. District Attorney Fitzpatrick is a nationally recognized expert on infant deaths, the investigation and prosecution of “cold cases,” and the application of forensic science in our courts. He currently serves as Chair of the New York State District Attorney’s Association Committee on Fair and Ethical Administration of Justice, which he created to address the issues of both wrongful convictions and wrongful acquittals. The goal he envisioned was to elevate the quality of justice in New York by improving the practices of prosecutors within the framework of their ethical duties and at the same time, confronting the problems of witness intimidation or tampering and defenses born out of junk science. The most successful aspect of this idea has been of the creation of Best Practices Committee, which through the combined talents of New York's top prosecutors, has drafted and implemented model identification procedures and video-recording procedures for suspect interviews, as well as other protocols and strategies to build the best case against the right suspect. After introducing his New York initiative to the Executive Committee of the NDAA, District Attorney Fitzpatrick, along with Kristine Hamann, has been instrumental in bringing the “Best Practices” model to prosecutors in over 30 states across the nation. “One of my top priorities as president, will be to ensure that my colleagues in all 50 states are exposed to the concepts and strategies we have developed in our ‘Best Practices’ model,” said Fitzpatrick.
Mr. Fitzpatrick has served as a President of the District Attorney’s Association of the State of New York and has been named New York Prosecutor of the Year by both his colleagues in the District Attorney’s Association and by the New York State Bar Association. He is a long time member of the New York State Forensic Science Commission, and recently served as co-chairman of New York State’s Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption having been so appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
District Attorney Fitzpatrick left his native Brooklyn many years ago to attend Syracuse University and Syracuse University School of Law. Admitted to the bar in 1977, he progressed rapidly over the next decade to become a Chief Assistant District Attorney, the youngest person ever appointed to this position and eventually was responsible for overseeing all homicide prosecutions in the county. Since becoming District Attorney, Mr. Fitzpatrick has successfully prosecuted several high profile murder cases, including old cases that others had previously thought were unsolvable. He has lectured in over 30 states and Canada, and his cases have been the subject of five books, including the Edgar Allan Poe Award Winning The Death of Innocents, which chronicled his decade long quest to bring Waneta Hoyt, a woman who murdered her five children, to justice. “I am honored to serve as president of the greatest and most ethical group of prosecutors in America,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said.