DA candidates talk opiate crisis, reform, in Stockbridge

STOCKBRIDGE — The three candidates for Berkshire County District Attorney argued over the opiate crisis, reform, and the looming 14-year legacy of David Capeless as DA at their final debate, as Capeless’ appointed successor tries to fend off two challengers in the Sept. 4 Democratic primary.

“The DA’s office is still stuck in the 1980s waging the failed war on drugs,” said challenger Andrea Harrington, of Richmond. “And Berkshire County has lagged behind and suffered as a result.”

The candidates fielded questions from journalists from WAMC and the Berkshire Eagle on the on the Fitzpatrick Main Stage of Berkshire Theatre Group a week before election day. Because there are no other announced candidates, the primary will effectively decide the election.

Harrington and fellow challenger Judith Knight, of Lee, both sought to emphasize themselves as reformers with an emphasis on diverting low-level offenders from prison sentences. Harrington said she would take a “data and evidence-informed approach” to solving community problems, and Knight presented herself as a progressive with 25 years experience as a defense attorney and five as a prosecutor.

Incumbent Paul Caccaviello, of Pittsfield, said his approach already balances compassion and vigilance. He presented himself as the steady career prosecutor with 30 years experience and over 5,000 cases.