The district attorney’s race was settled after Tuesday’s primary election, but the Democratic race to unseat longtime Republican Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson remained close.
“I feel very pleased with the strong showing of support by the citizens of Fall River and Bristol County,” Quinn said in an interview Tuesday night from a campaign party at White’s of Westport. “We’ll continue on the good work we’ve been doing as an office. [I’m] thankful to the efforts of the staff, all the good work that they’ve done showing up to do the trials, especially during the difficult period of the last two and a half years.
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“I look forward to continue to do the job and fight for the citizens of Bristol County. I serve at their pleasure,” Quinn added. “I’m here because of their support, years ago and today, and I’m very pleased that they continue to support me.”
This election, Quinn faced his first-ever political opponent for the DA’s position. He was first appointed to the job in 2015 by Gov. Charlie Baker to succeed Sutter, who had been elected as Fall River major. The position is a four-year term.
“It was a great opportunity to re-engage with people,” Quinn said. “I think the last three or four months I’ve been out a lot in person, meeting people. People have been very supportive. I feel invigorated by the personal contact. And people have been very supported of the different initiatives we’ve undertaken .”
Quinn has been an attorney for more than three decades, and was a former first ADA. Under Quinn’s tenure, the office has perpetrated several high-profile cases. His office successfully obtained a murder conviction in 2015 against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez for the slaying of Odin Lloyd; when his conviction was vacated on a technicality in 2017 after Hernandez killed himself in prison before exhausting all his appeals, Quinn successfully appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court to have the conviction reinstated in 2019.
Quinn’s office also prosecuted teenager Michelle Carter of Plainville, obtaining a conviction of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging boyfriend Conrad Roy to kill himself in 2014. The landmark case saw Carter was sentenced to 15 months in prison and five years of probation.
In recent months, Quinn has touted moves to process untested rape kits and conduct new tests on cold case unsolved murders and unidentified remains.
Quinn has also been the subject of criticism from the family of Anthony Harden, who was shot and killed by Fall River police during an arrest in November 2021. An investigation by Quinn’s office determined the shooting was justified; Harden’s family, including attorney Eric Mack, have filed a lawsuit asking for Quinn’s removal from office, claiming that Quinn manipulated facts and failed to disclose a conflict of interest in the case.
With no Republican in the running, Quinn’s victory Tuesday night won him re-election to another term by default.
Heroux declares victory in neck-and-neck Democratic race for sheriff
In the race for Bristol County sheriff, the Democratic ticket to challenge Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson in the Nov. 8 election remained uncalled by the Associated Press as of 12:25 am, although Attleboro Major Paul Heroux declared victory in the tight contest shortly before midnight.
With 80.6% of the votes counted, Heroux was in the lead with 38.4%, with Fall River attorney Nicholas Bernier behind him at 35.1%. Former Somerset police chief George McNeil was in third place at 26.4%.
“I look forward to the next two months of making my case to the voters of Bristol County that not only is it time for change in the Bristol county jail system, but that my vision is a forward thinking, modern approach to corrections,” Heroux said in a press release. “A modern jail system focuses on rehabilitation in order to reduce recidivism. We do this by proper programming, and making sure we know what reform works and what doesn’t. Also, we need to focus on discharge planning and its three pillars – housing, healthcare and workforce development, so that inmates going back into society have a chance at being successful and are law abiding citizens.”
Hodgson has served as sheriff since 1997, winning four six-year terms. Over the years, the staunch Republican has faced both praise and criticism for his tough approach to penology. He instituted what his office calls “tandem work crews” and critics call chain gangs, even offering to send inmates to help build a border wall with Mexico under then-President Donald Trump. He has been sued for alleged cruel conditions at the Bristol County House of Corrections’ ICE facility and faced calls for investigations into the country prison over high suicide rates and safety standards.
Dan Medeiros can be reached at [email protected]. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.
This article originally appeared on The Herald News: Bristol County DA Thomas Quinn wins 3rd term; Dems vie for sheriff
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