PoliticsThe White Plains Examiner

Cacace, Wagstaff Compete in Democratic Primary for Westchester D.A.

News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

We are part of The Trust Project
Democratic candidates for Westchester County District Attorney Susan Cacace and William Wagstaff.

The June 25 Democratic primary for Westchester District Attorney is down to two candidates, Susan Cacace and William Wagstaff, after Adeel Mirza dropped out of the race last Friday.

In announcing his exit, Mirza, who will still appear on the ballot, asked his supporters to vote for Wagstaff.

“I have gotten to know William throughout this race, and he is kind, generous, thoughtful and reform-minded,” Mirza stated in a release. “He will run the office with integrity and keep families safe while pursuing justice for all, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity or economic status.”

Last week outgoing Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah said Cacace was “the clear choice to lead the office and build on a record of public safety and fairness.”

“Susan Cacace’s extensive experience as both a prosecutor and a judge makes her an outstanding choice for district attorney,” Rocah stated. “She has a deep commitment to justice, and I am confident she will continue to advance the crucial work we have undertaken over the past four years to modernize the District Attorney’s Office. This includes initiatives aimed at keeping guns off our streets, safeguarding reproductive rights, combating hate crimes, and protecting our most vulnerable residents through a victim-centered approach that balances justice with compassion.”

Early voting started last Saturday and will continue to this Sunday, June 23.

Susan Cacace

Cacace, a Bronxville resident, served as a Westchester assistant district attorney from 1989 to 2003. She was elected as a county court judge in 2005 and retired last December. She was endorsed by the county’s Democratic Party.

She was assigned to preside over the Sex Offense Part in 2010, where she was responsible for handling all felony sex crimes throughout all phases of their prosecution in county court.

“Experience matters, especially the right kind,” Cacace said. “With over 30 years as a prosecutor and judge, I will come to the office fully prepared to lead. Beyond my extensive experience prosecuting and overseeing criminal cases, I have built strong relationships with countless people across the county. I plan to leverage these relationships to create a community-centric, transparent office focused on safety.”

Cacace, who worked as both a defense lawyer and a prosecutor in her career, also served as the first presiding judge of the DWI Part in Westchester, where she spearheaded the crafting of dispositions on all felony-level DWI cases.

During a June 4 League of Women Voters debate, Cacace cited gun trafficking, opioid trafficking and victims of sex crimes as three major problems in Westchester.

“I want to use my experience to make Westchester a safe place for everyone to live,” she said. “It’s not for someone to learn on the job. I’m the most qualified for the position.”

William Wagstaff

Wagstaff, who was born and raised in Mount Vernon, is a civil rights attorney who is vying to make history as the first Black district attorney in Westchester.

“Westchester needs a district attorney who will be serious about safety. Someone who will prioritize protecting our communities and standing up for victims, while at the same time recognizing that our system does not always lead to just outcomes,” he said. “I’m bringing life and career experiences unlike any candidate in the history of the Westchester District Attorney’s Office to affect that change we need. I will make the D.A.’s office a vehicle for positive change with my fresh perspective and broad experience from both sides of the courtroom.”

Wagstaff said he has prosecuted crimes pertaining to gun violence, gun activity, domestic violence and child abuse and vowed to hold everyone in the criminal justice system to the same standard, including the police.

“I’m frustrated by the lip service given to criminal justice reform, and how the system doesn’t work to keep our communities safe, families intact and rehabilitation an option,” he said. “I’m also serious about safety, and will implement innovative data-driven solutions to proactively address gun violence, hate crimes, domestic violence and property crime. I’m ready to meet the moment and ensure a more equitable, transparent and effective legal system, delivering transformative change to make all our diverse communities fairer, safer, and stronger as your next D.A.”

During the League of Women Voters debate, Wagstaff said he has “been victimized by the system” and mentioned his wife is a survivor of domestic violence.

“I have been the recipient of unfair treatment,” he said. “I have been on the front line fighting against discrimination of people in all walks of life. I have been a champion of fighting for the rights for all.”

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.