Cape & Islands DA
New MDAA President
The Massachusetts District Attorneys have elected Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe as the new President of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association (MDAA). The MDAA is an independent state agency headquartered in Boston that provides business technology, training and legislative and policy support to the eleven elected District Attorneys and their 700 appointed prosecutors
O’Keefe was elected District Attorney in 2003, having served as First Assistant District Attorney for eight years and as a prosecutor for more than 25 years under the late Philip A. Rollins, who was the Cape & Island’s District Attorney for 31 years and retired in 2003. During his lengthy courtroom career, O’Keefe tried over 250 jury trials, including 19 homicides, and represented the Commonwealth in numerous cases before the Massachusetts Appeals Court and the Supreme Judicial Court. He received MDAA’s Prosecutor of the Year Award in 1994, and in 2002 was named a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
O’Keefe’s top priority as MDAA President will be to work with the Governor and legislature to increase the salaries of the 700 prosecutors who work for the Commonwealth’s eleven elected District Attorneys. The entry level salary for prosecutors is $37,500. These attorneys often carry education loans from four years of college and three years of law school, and the resulting annual turnover rate in some offices is well over 20%. O’Keefe notes that prosecutors earn substantially less than attorneys who work for other state agencies, and that, while the legislature has provided increases to the DAs’ budgets over the past several years, the DAs need a “quantum leap forward” in their budgets in order to pay a reasonable salary to their attorneys.
Because of his many years in the courtroom, O’Keefe is also keenly focused on the importance of forensics services. He plans to “work with my fellow District Attorneys to ensure the integrity of our forensic services in light of recent failures of the drug analysis laboratory at the Department of Public Health.”
The District Attorneys have also elected Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley as MDAA’s new Vice President.