Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced today that his Senior Trial Counsel, Assistant District Attorney Christopher J. Belling, was the recipient of the Morgenthau Award. Mr. Belling received the award on Friday January 27, 2012 at the District Attorneys Association of New York’s annual winter meeting in New York City. This award, named after legendary Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau, is given to that prosecutor whose “professional accomplishments, honesty, integrity, and commitment to the fair and ethical administration of justice” merit state-wide recognition.
“For over thirty years, Mr. Belling tried the most difficult cases in Erie County; but far more important than that is his legacy of mentoring young assistants and teaching them what it means to truly be a professional prosecutor. Many of us here today have benefitted from his talents, whether through his teaching or guidance in trying a case,” stated DA Sedita. “ His mastery in the courtroom is matched only by his heartfelt response to the call for Justice and a generosity of spirit which allows him to help any one of us, on any case, no matter what, no matter where.”
Mr. Belling has been a prosecutor for 37 years, having been appointed to many leadership roles in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. During his first tenure in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, which began in 1975, Mr. Belling prosecuted many homicides and other high visibility cases. In 2007, Mr. Belling went to work for the New York Prosecutor’s Training Institute in Albany, where he served as their Trial Counsel. During this period, he served as a consultant to the 62 District Attorneys in New York State. He also served as Special District Attorney in Rensselaer, Greene, and Saratoga counties as well as Special Counsel to the District Attorneys of Orleans, Tioga, Chenango and St. Lawrence counties. In 2010, Mr. Belling returned to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office and was appointed Senior Trial Counsel by District Attorney Sedita. In this role, Mr. Belling provides advice and counsel to all Assistant District attorneys on trial matters, and continues to actively prosecute significant and especially challenging cases.
A career prosecutor, Mr. Belling also enjoys a national reputation as a teacher, having taught many courses in trial advocacy and prosecutorial ethics. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School. Mr. Belling continues to train prosecutors on the state and national levels, as well as training police, and other forensic professionals.
Mr. Belling received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He was admitted to practice in New York and in the Federal Courts in the Western District of New York in 1975. He resides in Buffalo with his wife, Celine.