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Many folks may remember the late Suffolk County District Attorney James Catterson, a pugnacious prosecutor who died in 2007.
Fewer may recall that Catterson was the Nassau County Attorney from 1976-1977 when Republican Ralph Caso was county executive.
But the legal opinions issued by the county attorney’s office during Catterson’s tenure in Nassau are now, for the first time, public and available on the Nassau county attorney website.
For example, Catterson’s office determined in a 1976 opinion that Nassau was not responsible for reimbursing a county employee for loss of personal clothing on the job after a detainee assaulted a deputy sheriff in a courtroom and destroyed his blue double knit blazer.
Current County Attorney John Ciampoli also has posted his formal opinions for the past two years and hopes to make public all past county attorney opinions.
“We’ve recovered everything from the archives,” Ciampoli said this week. “By the end of the summer, everything should be posted.”
He said these opinions should be available to the public. ““It’s a body of law that is out there. Just as the attorney general opinions are a body of law for state agencies, this is a body of law for our government,” Ciampoli said.
“I’ve issued enough opinions to get people upset over the years,” he added. “We might as well enshrine them there.”