Daniel F. Conley
|Daniel F. Conley|
|District Attorney for Suffolk County, Massachusetts|
|Preceded by||Ralph C. Martin II|
|Member of the Boston City Council from District 5|
|Preceded by||Tom Menino|
|Succeeded by||Robert Consalvo|
|Alma mater||Stonehill College
Suffolk University Law School
Appointed to the office in February 2002, Conley was elected in his own right on November 5, 2002, again on November 7, 2006, and most recently on November 2, 2010. As district attorney, Conley oversees the largest and busiest district attorney's office in Massachusetts. His office is currently responsible for the prosecution of between 40,000 to 50,000 criminal cases every year in the state's most densely populated county.
Early life and career
Conley graduated from Stonehill College in 1980 and Suffolk University Law School in 1983. He joined the office of the Suffolk County District Attorney after passing the Massachusetts Bar Exam. Beginning his career as an Assistant D.A. handling cases in the Boston Municipal Court, he would later begin prosecuting juvenile cases in the Boston Juvenile Court. In 1987 he was promoted to the Suffolk Superior Court where he prosecuted felony cases. When gang violence increased in Boston during the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was promoted by then District Attorney Ralph Martin to the anti-gang violence task force. In 1992 he was promoted to the Homicide Unit of the D.A.'s office. Conley served as an assistant district attorney for a total of nine years, during which time he prosecuted homicides and other serious felonies including drug trafficking, non-fatal shootings, and intimate partner violence.
In 1993, he left the Suffolk District Attorney's office to run for a seat on the Boston City Council. Constituents elected him to the District Five seat, where he served for eight years and served several terms as chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee. He remained on the Boston City Council until he was appointed Suffolk County's 14th district attorney on February 19, 2002.
Massachusetts is just one of only four states (along with the District of Columbia) that have no continuing legal education requirement for attorneys. Recognizing that prosecutors need to be informed on new and developing areas of law in addition to the fundamentals, Conley implemented a continuing training legal education policy within his office that far exceeds what is required for Massachusetts lawyers once they pass the bar exam. The policy mandates that all Suffolk prosecutors continue their professional development through trainings, seminars, and other presentations. Some training opportunities are mandatory, such as those addressing the disclosure of so-called “Brady material” to defense counsel; others allow prosecutors to hone their skills in particular fields of prosecution, such as child abuse and domestic violence. The training policy goes above and beyond what’s merely necessary and guarantees that the assistant district attorneys practicing in Boston and Suffolk County can provide the highest level of advocacy for the communities they serve.
In 2004, Conley and the then-Commissioner of the Boston Police Department empaneled a blue-ribbon task force to evaluate the ways in which police gather and prosecutors use eyewitness evidence. In an effort to ensure that the historical wrongful convictions that came to light under his leadership never reoccurred, Conley assigned his top courtroom prosecutor to join with ranking police officials, prominent defense attorneys, and the nation's leading academic expert on eyewitness identification to review the investigative processes by which eyewitness evidence was gathered and recommend changes that would minimize the likelihood of faulty identifications.
The panel returned with a sweeping set of unprecedented reforms that were rapidly implemented by area law enforcement. The reforms prompted defense attorney Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project to cite Boston and Suffolk County as being "at the forefront of the country"  in averting wrongful convictions, and eyewitness evidence expert Gary Wells to call them the "Gold Standard" to which other jurisdictions should aspire.
Shortly after taking office, Conley implemented a policy of assenting to any reasonable request for post-conviction testing of DNA evidence that was unavailable at the time of a defendant’s trial. In 2011, Conley voiced his support, with additional recommendations, for legislation that would expand that voluntary policy statewide. “[T]his legislation codifies many of the practices that I voluntarily put in place six or seven years ago,” Conley wrote to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. “These are good practices that serve the interest of justice.”
Under Conley's stewardship, the Suffolk District Attorney's Office partnered with numerous service providers, government agencies, and victim advocacy groups to build the Family Justice Center of Boston. The FJCB streamlines services for victims of child abuse, intimate partner violence, and sexual crimes by coordinating the responses of numerous agencies and providers - including police, prosecutors, social workers, and others - under one roof. The burdens on victims are reduced while efforts to hold their abusers accountable under the law are enhanced.
Also operating out of the FJCB is the Support to End Exploitation Now (SEEN), a multi-agency task force directed by members of Conley's office that has twice been named one of the Top 50 Innovative Government Projects by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation.
In 1999, Conley was presented with the O'Riordan-Mundy Award, an honor bestowed by former prosecutors, in recognition of his distinguished service to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, the legal community, and the citizens of Massachusetts. In 2003, he was named the Suffolk Law School Irish-American Law Society's Person of the Year in that award's inaugural presentation. In 2005, he was named Lawyer of the Year by the Frank J. Murray Inn of Court for outstanding contributions to the pursuit of ethics, civility, and professionalism in the courtroom. In 2008, he was awarded the Boston Bar Association's Distinguished Public Service Award for his work to rectify historical wrongful convictions and prevent their recurrence. In 2011, Conley was singled out for recognition by the non-profit My Life My Choice program for his work to protect the child victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
In addition to these awards, Conley has also received various honors recognizing his work in prosecution from the Sons of Italy, Stonehill College's St. Thomas More Society, the Massachusetts Fraternal Order of Police, the Irish-American Police Officers Association of Massachusetts, Rotary International, the Department of Defense’s Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve program, and Stop Handgun Violence, a non-profit organization.
Conley is a former president of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association, is on the Board of Directors of the National District Attorneys Association, and is a member of both the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Greater Boston and of Catholic Memorial High School.
Conley lives in Boston with his wife and two children.
- Andrew Ryan; John R. Ellement (3 April 2013). "Suffolk DA Daniel F. Conley joins race to succeed Thomas M. Menino as mayor of Boston". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 31 May 2013.