On November 19, the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association (MDAA) elected Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless as its President. Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth D. Scheibel was elected Vice President.

The MDAA, comprised of the Commonwealth's eleven District Attorneys, is an independent state agency that provides business technology, legal training and policy support to Massachusetts' elected District Attorneys and to their prosecutors and victim-witness advocates. District Attorney Capeless said his top priority as President of the MDAA will be to help insure quality prosecutions during the current economic downturn facing the Commonwealth and the nation. "The MDAA will be working closely with the Legislature and the Administration to strengthen public safety while developing and implementing cost-saving measures within the criminal justice system. These are difficult times, but I believe we can accomplish these goals while strengthening the current system."

District Attorney Capeless is a native of Pittsfield, the son of former Pittsfield Mayor Robert Capeless, and the grandson of former Pittsfield City Councilor and State Representative Matthew Capeless. He has been a prosecutor for more than twenty-six years, beginning as an Assistant District Attorney in Middlesex County before moving back to become the Berkshire First District Attorney in 1991. He received the Prosecutor of the Year award from the MDAA in 1997. He became the Berkshire District Attorney in 2004, after the untimely death of the late Gerard D. Downing.

During his years as District Attorney, David has focused the attention of the County's law enforcement on the growing problem of gang violence and the illegal use of firearms. He has secured legislative appropriations to fund special operations by a county-wide Guns'N Gangs task force comprised of local police investigators who work under the direction of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force.

District Attorney Capeless supports proactive prevention initiatives and works collaboratively with local law enforcement, social service agencies, health care professionals and educators to address the social, economic and health issues facing citizens of Berkshire County. He has participated personally and has offered the resources of his Office to such groups as the Berkshire Health Systems Pain Management Initiative, the Leadership Council to End Homelessness, and the Berkshire Youth Development Project. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Berkshire United Way.

District Attorney Capeless has made the safety and well-being of the county's youth a priority and has taken on a leadership role in the fight to curb underage drinking and drug abuse and reduce youth violence. Under the District Attorney's direction, the Community Outreach and Education program within his Office works in partnership with schools and youth service providers and delivers education and enrichment programs for staff, students and parents focusing on crime prevention, school safety and student awareness program.

District Attorney Capeless also serves as a strong advocate for the rights of seniors and collaborates with Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., and local police on the TRIAD Program for seniors and with Elder Services of the Berkshires, Inc., to enhance senior safety.

District Attorney Capeless sees education and civic involvement as key to reducing crime, so he and his staff serve as a strong presence in community affairs, activities and events.