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North Country News

Clinton County DA Rejects Campaign For Judge, Opts To Run For Reelection

Andrew Wylie
Pat Bradley/WAMC
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Andrew Wylie

Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie has announced that rather than seek a judge’s position in this year’s election, he will run for re-election next year.
He is the voice and face behind the legal proceedings that occurred after David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility last June:   “My name is Andrew Wylie, the Clinton County District Attorney. At this time we’d just like to report on the court appearance relative to the matter of the People vs. David Sweat.”

Although the manhunt lasted six weeks the legal aftermath stretched until this February.  District Attorney Andrew Wylie prosecuted surviving escapee Sweat and former prison employees Joyce Mitchell and Gene Palmer.   

Two judges are retiring this year in Clinton County.  Court Judge Patrick McGill will leave the bench at the end of the year as will Surrogate Court Judge Kevin Ryan.   There had been speculation that Wylie would run to replace Judge McGill.   But Thursday the District Attorney indicated he will instead seek his fourth term as D.A. in November 2017, saying in a prepared statement : “I am honored to have been considered as a candidate to succeed Judge McGill….  I have the utmost respect for the Judiciary, but serving as the top prosecutor in this County has been ingrained within me and I am resolved to continue to serve this County in my present capacity.”  

Wylie did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Clinton County Republican Committee Chair Don McBrayer notes that it’s still early and doesn’t know anyone in his party yet who is thinking of challenging the 10-year incumbent.   “Personally I think he’s been a good D.A. and I think he’s done well in that job and I don’t know of any Republicans interested at this point.  That could change at any minute, but at the moment we’re not aware of any.”

McBrayer admits he was surprised that Wylie has opted not to seek a judgeship.   “We believed he was going to run for the County Judge or at least I thought he would consider it.  I’m surprised in that I would imagine the D.A. job is a tough job and you wonder with the demands that it has if it was something he was ready to step away from or not.”  

In February, following Sweat’s sentencing, Wylie talked about programs and priorities he looked forward to returning his attention to.   “I’m ready to move forward, continue with prosecution of cases that we have here in Clinton County. Dealing with our heroin epidemic which I think is one of the major issues that we have here in Clinton County and throughout the state of New York. Working with the different law enforcement agencies and treatment agencies.  We’re never going to stop the heroin addiction.  We’re never going to stop the trafficking in this county as long as heroin is readily available as cheap as it is.  And dealing with other cases that we have in this community such as sexual abuse and trauma to our children.”

Wylie’s current four-year term expires December 31st, 2017.  
 

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