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District Attorney David E. Sullivan

Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan was elected in November 2010 and assumed office on Jan. 5, 2011.

He  has been an attorney for more than 25 years, serving 17 years as a trial attorney and advocate. He has handled thousands of criminal and civil cases and tried criminal cases in Superior, District, Juvenile and Military Courts.

Sullivan started his law career in 1987 as a civilian trial attorney representing U.S. Army and Air Force service members in General and Special Courts-Martial in West Germany. He was the city attorney for Easthampton from March 1999 to 2002, when he was elected Register of Probate for Hampshire Probate and Family Court.

As Register of Probate, Sullivan chaired a technology committee for imaging and scanning filed documents, a system now used in the Probate Courts around the state. He helped establish mediation programs to mitigate conflicts between individuals and reduce court costs, and he established a website for the Probate Court to give the public access to resources and staff contacts. Sullivan is proud to have helped make the Hampshire Probate and Family Court more user-friendly and responsive for all citizens.

In 2008, he was one of two Massachusetts lawyers chosen to receive the Massachusetts Bar Foundation's President's Award for "extraordinary volunteerism, leadership, and commitment to increasing access to justice in Massachusetts."

As District Attorney, Sullivan has embraced a community prosecution model that blends smart and fair prosecutions, crime prevention, law enforcement partnerships and community collaboration to build safer communities throughout Hampshire and Franklin counties and the town of Athol. Among other initiatives,  the Northwestern District Attorney's Office, under Sullivan, has

  • Created a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit and implemented priority prosecutions for high risk domestic violence offenders;
  • Established the Northwestern Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) to provide local law enforcement with access to essential criminal justice training programs, assistance, and investigative tools;
  • Created a Community Outreach & Education Unit to provide community and educational trainings to  strengthen our communities and prevent crime;
  • Co-founded the Veteran’s Justice Partnership with community and criminal justice partners to provide coordinated services and treatment, and rehabilitation, and alternatives to incarceration for local veterans and military service members who enter the criminal justice system;
  • Co-founded the Northwestern Fire Intervention Response, Education and Safety Partnership (NoFIRES) in collaboration with community and public safety partners to identify and help youth who are juvenile firesetters;
  • Established a Safe School Response Team to prevent and promptly address acts of harassment, bullying, and violence that impact students, families and communities;
  • Created a Child Sexual Predator Task Force to enhance training for law enforcement and prosecutors to aid in the investigation and prosecution of child sexual predators. The program is funded with a $493,000 Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant which was awarded to our office and also includes prevention and education programs helping youth and families;
  • Created a Civil Rights Advisory Board to advise and assist the Office in the areas of community outreach and education, crime prevention, community prosecution, civic engagement, social justice and civil rights issues.
  • Coordinated with community partners several National Prescription Drug Take Back Days in the Northwestern District resulting in the removal of 7 tons of unwanted prescription and nonprescription drugs from our communities and spearheaded the establishment of permanent drug take back boxes in 17 area police stations.
  • Launched the Campaign to End Sexual Assault on Campuses, a multimedia educational campaign with the theme "Consent: The Difference Between Sex and Rape," aimed at increasing awareness and reporting of sexual assaults on campuses.

Sullivan is a board member of the Governor's Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and a member of  the Massachusetts Children's Trust Fund Board of Directors.

He has been president of the Hampshire County Bar Association, Chairman of the Hampshire Elder Law Program and President of Western Massachusetts Shelter for Homeless Veterans. He has been an Advisory Board Member to the Northwestern District Attorney's Child Advocacy Center and Northampton Domestic Violence-Free Zone Committee and an Easthampton Inter-Faith Cot Shelter committee member.

He has been a youth soccer and basketball coach and continues to assist annually with the statewide MBA high school mock trial competition.

Sullivan graduated from Northeastern University Law School in 1986 and the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts in 1981.

He is married to Easthampton attorney Catherine Hancock and they have three children.