Felony cases include prosecuting violent felony offenders and career criminals for crimes including homicide, assault, and cases involving the use of firearms. This office is also responsible for prosecution of non-violent felony cases that do not involve bodily harm or the threat of bodily harm to victims. Non-violent felonies include, but are not limited to, burglary, auto theft, grand larceny, felony criminal mischief and fraud cases.
All felony cases are ultimately prosecuted in the Superior Courts; which include Erie County Court, State Supreme Court and several specialty courts. Over 2,000 cases are reviewed annually for felony level prosecution (some result in the grand jury issuing a No True Bill, while many others are returned to the local court for prosecution as a misdemeanor level offense). Ultimately, approximately 1,700 felony cases are prosecuted annually in the Superior Courts of Erie County, the vast majority of which result in a conviction.
Because of the caseload, the Felony Trials Bureau is led by three Assistant District Attorneys, Chief Rachel L. Newton, Chief Paul J. Glascott and Chief John G. Schoemick.
Rachel L. Newton is Chief of the Felony Trial Bureau at the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, where she has worked for 15 years. Prior to her position as Chief of Felony Trials, Ms. Newton was Chief of the Domestic Violence Bureau for nearly six years, where she supervised specially trained prosecutors handling domestic violence cases in local and superior courts. In this capacity, she was a member of the Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence, the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Council on Elder Abuse, the Erie County Family Justice Center Advisory Committee and the legislative sub-committee on sex crimes and family violence for the District Attorney’s Association of New York. Ms. Newton was also involved in the beginning stages of the implementation of Erie County’s Domestic Violence High Risk Team. Ms. Newton holds a Bachelors Degree from the State University of New York College at Brockport. She also holds a Juris Doctor Degree and a Masters of Law Degree (LLM) focusing on Criminal Law from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Ms. Newton regularly trained social workers, police officers and medical personnel on the issue of domestic violence. Ms. Newton continues to teach the legal community where she regularly lectures at the Erie County Law Enforcement Training Academy and lectures prosecutors across the state for the New York Prosecutor’s Training Institute. In 2015 Ms. Newton received the Exemplary Service Award from the Council on Elder Abuse for her dedication to bringing abusers of the elderly to justice.