39-year-old Binghamton lawyer Paul Battisti wants to become the next Broome County District Attorney. Battisti faces a Republican Party primary challenge from Chief Assistant Broome County DA Michael Korchak. Former Under-Sheriff and now NYS Senator Fred Akshar and Broome County Sheriff David Harder both endorse Battisti. Supporting Korchak are current District Attorney Steven Cornwell as well as retired Broome County Court Judge Martin Smith.
Mr. Cornwell is far better qualified than Battisti and much more experienced, having held the position in the DA’s office since before Battisti was old enough to drive. However, youth and lack of experience are the least of Battisti’s problems.
Battisti has demonstrated poor judgment and a propensity to unjustly manipulate the legal system. Using his personal and political influence, Battisti reportedly phoned Broome County Sheriff Captain Fred Akshar, (now Senator Akshar), convincing him to dispatch a deputy to the scene of a domestic dispute between Battisti’s estranged wife and his new girlfriend. Even though the incident took place in Binghamton, Akshar sent a deputy, trampling normal inner-departmental protocols that would have instead properly dispatched the Binghamton Police Department to the incident. Battisti’s ex-wife was arrested in front of their own children on charges that were later dismissed by the District Attorney’s office. The arresting officer? Deputy John Akshar, Fred’s brother.
Add to this malfeasance the latest findings of reportedly three years of tax liens in arrears to the tune of almost $90,000.00 and we get a further glimpse into the character of candidate Battisti.
Attorneys and police officers are referred to as “Officers of the Court.” This means that they are obliged to promote justice and uphold the law. This obligation is even stronger and more important when it regards the District Attorney. If those in leadership positions are known for twisting the law and operating on the margins of what is right and just, they fail by example. As the chief law enforcement officer representing the county, this office, and its leadership, set the tone and example for the entirety of the law enforcement community. Battisti’s actions severely undermine the credibility and trust needed in order to perform with honor, dignity and valor. The rank and file of law enforcement requires leadership they can look up to.
The core goal of the District Attorneys office is to hold accountable those under which the law applies. The actions of Battisti and Akshar disqualify them both as good faith servants of the people. Mr. Battisti has demonstrated himself as unworthy of the citizen’s trust and their votes. His own actions disqualify him from serving the people of Broome County. Good looks, a flashy smile and sharply tailored suits aren’t the measure of the man. His actions are.