DA debate pulls no punches

Cusick said that Clyne had an 82.9 conviction rate, while Soares only had a 77.8 percent conviction rate.

Another difference between the two came when Cusick announced he would never use plea bargaining for violent crimes involving guns, while Soares said it was a necessary tool and that if the county had a weak case, it would be better to take a criminal off the streets for a short period of time rather than none.

Cusick also accused Soares of writing a $1,000 check to himself from his office as well as using his office's funds to throw parties and pay parking tickets.

"Is this a man running a DA's office or a man running a slush fund?" Cusick asked. As for Conner's audit, Cusick charged that the state's attorney general or the inspector general needed to step in and look into the matter.

Soares once again fired back, saying he would use money seized from drug dealers and other criminal to combat Albany County crime. "You can tell Mike Conners I will continue to use gamblers and drug dealers money, " he said.

Cusick cited Soares lack of cooperation with local law enforcement and criticisms of police agencies as the reason for he's picked up powerful endorsements from CSEA, AFSCME and Council 82, the parent union of several area police departments.

Soares is running for re-election as a first-term Democratic incumbent, but this time Cusick is running on the "Integrity Party" line, a party seemingly created specifically for this race by the GOP. Cusick ran as a Republican against Soares and former district attorney Clyne in 2004. In a rare Albany County upset, Soares beat Clyne " his former boss " in the Democratic primary that year and went on to win the general election against Cusick and Clyne, who ran on the Independence line after losing the primary.

The Albany Law debate is expected to be the only public debate between the two candidates. The Albany Law Civil Liberties Union, Albany Law Black Law Students Association, New York Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP and the League of Women Voters sponsored the debate. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4.""

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