Timothy Sini will be sworn in as Suffolk County district...

Timothy Sini will be sworn in as Suffolk County district attorney on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. Credit: James Carbone

Incoming Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini on Sunday unveiled an administration that brings new people into the office and puts existing prosecutors into new leadership positions.

The top prosecutors will serve in an office with a structure adjusted to allow a greater focus on training and evaluation of lawyers and investigators to bring accountability and integrity to an office that he said lacked both under his predecessor, Thomas Spota, Sini said in an interview Sunday. Spota resigned after being indicted in October on federal charges of obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

“What’s great about this team is that it’s a nice mix of talent within the office and talent from outside the office,” Sini said. “Continuity and institutional knowledge are important. But at the end of the day, integrity was the most important factor” in making promotions and hires.

Sini said the hires, promotions and transfers came after interviewing 250 people and reviewing thousands of pages of documents from the office, one of the largest prosecutors’ offices in the country.

The office will be reorganized with new bureaus to focus on environmental crime, identity theft, elder abuse and other nonviolent crime, Sini said. Investigative bureaus will take control of all gang-related crime and the proliferation of opioid abuse, he said.

Environmental crime investigations will be more aggressive, Sini said. “We want to root out the bad actors,” he said. Those who try to skirt such laws “will be doing it at your peril,” he added.

Sini said he expected narcotics investigations to be “on the cutting edge” of attacking the growing list of dangerously addictive opioids.

Among the personnel moves Sini announced is a new chief of staff — Justin Meyers, who served as assistant police commissioner under Sini and will coordinate logistical, training, budget and public outreach for the office.

Meyers also will oversee a statistical evaluation of crime in the county and the district attorney’s office, Sini said. The office will now track how well it performs, measuring everything from how long a case takes to be resolved to how prosecutors fare in verdicts, bail requests and other rulings, he said.

Sini said training staff lawyers will be a prime focus for several new leaders in the office, including Chief Assistant William Ferris, Appeals Bureau Chief Glenn Green and District Court Bureau Chief Cathy Loeffler.

Chief Investigator and former first deputy Suffolk police commissioner John Barry, who helped Sini overhaul the Suffolk Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, will oversee the detectives and investigators assigned to the district attorney’s office.

Loeffler’s role, in the bureau that oversees misdemeanor cases prosecuted by young, newly hired lawyers, is key, Sini said.

“She’s just a fantastic asset to the office,” he said. “The younger assistants look up to her. She has a great mix of energy and maturity.”

All lawyers in the office will be regularly and formally evaluated, something that has not happened in past years, Sini said.

“We’re going to assess everyone in their new roles,” he said. Those who don’t meet expectations will be reassigned, he said.

Lawyers familiar with the office said Sini’s priorities — particularly training and integrity — are the right ones.

“Law school prepares you for absolutely nothing,” said Christopher Brocato, president of the Suffolk County Criminal Bar Association and a former Suffolk prosecutor. “It’s not intuitive how to be a trial attorney. Someone really needs to sit down with you and teach you how to evaluate a case. For a long time [under Spota], this was something that was not always done.”

Dan Russo, who runs the county’s Assigned Counsel Defender Plan, said he was “actually encouraged” by Sini’s moves.

He said the new Investigations Division chief, Megan O’Donnell, is an experienced and fair prosecutor. He said the new chiefs of the homicide and vehicular crime bureaus — Kerriann Kelly and Brendan Ahern, respectively — are known for their toughness and integrity.

“I’m encouraged, and I’m willing to give the administration a chance,” Russo said.

Sini revamped the Homicide Bureau. In addition to moving Kelly from the Major Crime Bureau, he hired two former Nassau prosecutors — Francis Schroeder and Darryl Levy — into that bureau and promoted Suffolk prosecutor Lawrence Opisso.

Sini said the Homicide Bureau had been a high-profile example of the office’s problems, with repeated cases of constitutional violations of defendants’ rights that compromised prosecutions as a result. Almost a half-dozen murder charges were dismissed this year alone because of prosecutorial misconduct.

The new staff and new focus are to begin immediately after his inauguration Tuesday at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.

“There will be no party, no lunch celebration,” he said. “We’re going to get to work right away.”

The Sini Administration

Chief Assistant District Attorney: William Ferris

Chief Investigator: John Barry

Chief of Staff: Justin Meyers

Trial Division Chief: Tad Scharfenberg

Investigations Division Chief: Megan O’Donnell

Special Affairs Division Chief: Not yet filled.

Trial Division bureaus:

District Court Bureau Chief: Cathy Loeffler, chief; Craig McElwee and Thomas LaVallee, deputy chiefs; Michelle Chiuchiolo, trial supervisor.

East End Bureau: Joe Carroll, chief.

Case Advisory Bureau: Nancy Clifford, acting chief; Robin Hartman, deputy chief.

Major Crime Bureau: Patricia Brosco, acting chief; James Chalifoux, deputy chief. (Another deputy still to be hired.)

Vehicular Crime Bureau: Brendan Ahern, chief; Carl Borelli, acting deputy chief.

Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Bureau: Dari Schwartz, chief; Dana Brown and Keri Herzog, deputy chiefs.

Homicide: Kerriann Kelly, chief.

Investigatons Division bureaus:

Enhanced Prosecution Bureau (oversees following three units): Christiana McSloy, chief.

Gang Unit: Kate Wagner, acting deputy chief.

Electronic Surveillance Unit: Nick Mauro, deputy chief

Crime Strategies and Major Investigations Unit: Not yet filled.

Economic and Cyber Crimes Bureau: Jeremy Scileppi, chief; Ming Liu Parson, acting deputy chief

Narcotics Bureau: Mark Murray, chief; John Scargloto, acting deputy chief.

Asset Forfeiture Bureau: Craig Pavlik, deputy chief.

Special Affairs Division bureaus:

Conviction Integrity Bureau: Not yet filled.

Appeals and Training Bureau: Glenn Green, chief; Guy Arcidiacono, deputy chief.

Public Integrity Bureau: Andrew Weiss, acting chief

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