I am the Elected District Attorney of Chautauqua County, having served as Acting District Attorney from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016 and since January 1, 2017 as the Elected District Attorney.
For the past four years, I’ve served as Chautauqua County’s top law enforcement official, working side-by-side with law enforcement to protect our community. The relationships and corroborative efforts that I have established with law enforcement agencies and departments throughout the county and state continue to reinforce my dedication to my role as district attorney. It remains fundamental to me that I seek justice for every person, protect victims and ensure the integrity of criminal justice system.
I’ve been an attorney for 12 years and full-time prosecutor since 2011. During that time, I’ve successfully prosecuted murderers, rapists, child abusers, burglars, robbers and individuals who sell poison to our residents. The past 9 years as a prosecutor has taught me how important, how difficult and how challenging this job can be. It’s experience you can’t get doing anything else. Representing victims of terrible crimes and seeing that they, their families and loved ones receive a fair measure of justice in our criminal justice system is an immense responsibility, and it is a public service that has been my privilege to render.
During my tenure, the criminal justice system has seen unprecedented amounts of change. Raise the age, bail reform and discovery changes have forever altered the landscape of our criminal justice system. Through my leadership, my office has led the transition in this county, offering solutions to local law enforcement so that together, we could meet the challenge.
Our success is also attributable to the skilled team of professionals I have brought in to prosecute crime. I feel confident that I have built the most effective and efficient District Attorney’s Office Chautauqua County has ever had.
Working with the good men and women of law enforcement, who have dedicated their lives to protecting the law abiding citizens of our community and ensuring that Chautauqua County continues to be a wonderful to live and raise a family, has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
My vision as the District Attorney of Chautauqua County is broader than prosecuting criminals. Community outreach, through speaking engagements with senior’s groups and our local schools I hope to educate the listeners about elder scams and the dangers of social media and drugs. Instructing at the Sheriff’s academy and local police and Sheriff’s in-service training and teaching at Crime Scene Technician school for the Forensic Investigation Team, I’ve been educating of our local law enforcement agencies about the changing laws, the expectations of my office and how collectively and how we can successfully accomplish our goals.
I’ve expanded the footprint of the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s office. As a member of the District Attorney’s Association of the State of New York (DAASNY), my office has a voice in a statewide organization that is 111 years strong. I was selected two years ago to serve on the DAASNY Board of Directors. District Attorney Jim Subjack is the only other Chautauqua County District Attorney to serve on the DAASNY board. I am also on the Electronic Surveillance Committee and served on the special committee that drafted the model police training policy for facial recognition software and use. I’ve testified twice in front of the New York State Senate about matters affecting district attorney’s offices across this state. I’ve presented at district attorney conferences on issues ranging from narcotics to residency restrictions. We’ve partnered with other prosecuting agencies, both state and federal, by forming the Overdose Response Initiative with the US Attorney’s office. We sit on the Southern Tier Child Fatality Review Review Team. We are members of the WNY Human Trafficking Task Force. We are a stakeholder on the Elder Law Abuse multi-disciplinary team.
I’ve fought for my office to get needed resources. I inherited a district attorney’s office that suffered from the highest caseload in New York State. Of the 62 counties, Chautauqua County’s office was the only one with more than 300 criminal case per prosecutor. Despite being underfunded we are getting the job done. While the county legislature has provided additional staff, our needs are far from satisfied and I will continue to fight for an office that is right sized.
I’m a lifelong Chautauqua County resident, growing up in Sherman and graduating from Sherman High School. I’m married to Dr. Natalie (Guiffreda) Swanson who is a practicing Optometrist in Hamburg. My parents are Melford and Mary Swanson of Sherman. My father, “Mel”, was a high basketball coach and teacher at Sherman Central Schools for fourty years. I have two brothers, Nolan and Ryan and a sister, Lesley. My wife grew up in Ashville with her parents Cindy and the late Robert “Bob” Guiffreda. Natalie has a brother, Tony and a sister, Laurie.
After graduating from Sherman High School, I attended from Wake Forest University, graduating with a degree in Physics. At Wake Forest I competed in Cross-Country and Track & Field. I was a distance runner. After being a high school teacher for four years, I attended the University of Memphis Law School where I received my Juris Doctorate degree. My wife and I practiced for period in Memphis before we had our first child and decided that Chautauqua County is where we wanted to raise our family.
We now live in Fredonia with our two young children. Simply put, we wanted our kids to grow up like we did. Living in safe homes, on safe streets and sending our kids to safe schools, is the everyday emphasis of my office. As your leader in the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s office, I am working tirelessly to preserve and enhance our Chautauqua County way of life.
I'm committed to seeking justice for the people of Chautauqua County. Chautauqua County is my home and has been for most of my life. It is a wonderful community and it is where my wife and I are proud to be raising my son and daughter. I am running for reelection as the Chautauqua County District Attorney so I can use my experience to continue to fight for victims of crime. I want to play an active role in making my community, county and state a safer, better place to raise a family, run a business, and forge a future filled with unlimited promise. As your District Attorney, I will work tirelessly to preserve the Chautauqua County that gave you and me opportunity.
Today, I want to continue to serve as your District Attorney. I am the only candidate for District Attorney with real experience. I am the only candidate fit for the job as top law enforcement officer in Chautauqua County. I am a District Attorney that understands the enormity of the job. I am the clear choice in 2020. I am your District Attorney.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
— Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
DA Swanson instructing on the changing law in New York.