Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan was elected in November 2010 and has served since Jan. 5, 2011.
He has been an attorney for more than 28 years, serving 20 years as a trial attorney and advocate. He has handled criminal and civil cases in Superior, District, Juvenile, Probate and Military Courts.
Sullivan started his law career in 1987 as a civilian trial attorney representing U.S. Army and Air Force service members in General and Special Courts-Martial in West Germany. He was the city attorney for Easthampton from March 1999 to 2002, when he was elected Register of Probate for Hampshire Probate and Family Court. Sullivan served as Hampshire Register of Probate from January 2003 to January 2011.
As Register of Probate, Sullivan co-chaired a technology committee for imaging and scanning filed documents, a system now used in the Probate Courts around the state. He helped establish mediation programs to mitigate conflicts between individuals and reduce court costs, and he established a website for the Probate Court to give the public access to resources and staff contacts. Sullivan helped make the Hampshire Probate and Family Court more user-friendly and responsive for all citizens.
In 2008, he was one of two Massachusetts lawyers chosen to receive the Massachusetts Bar Foundation's President's Award for "extraordinary volunteerism, leadership, and commitment to increasing access to justice in Massachusetts."
As District Attorney, Sullivan has embraced a community prosecution model that blends smart and fair prosecutions, crime prevention, law enforcement partnerships and community collaboration to build safer communities throughout Hampshire and Franklin counties and the town of Athol. Under Sullivan, the Northwestern District Attorney's Office has
- Created a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit and implemented priority prosecutions for high risk domestic violence offenders;
- Established the Northwestern Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) to provide local law enforcement with access to essential criminal justice training programs, assistance, and investigative tools;
- Created a Community Outreach & Education Unit to provide community and educational trainings to strengthen our communities and prevent crime;
- Co-founded the Veteran’s Justice Partnership with community and criminal justice partners to provide coordinated services and treatment, and rehabilitation, and alternatives to incarceration for local veterans and military service members who enter the criminal justice system;
- Co-founded the Northwestern Fire Intervention Response, Education and Safety Partnership (NoFIRES) in collaboration with community and public safety partners to identify and help youth who are juvenile firesetters;
- Established a Safe School Response Team to prevent and promptly address acts of harassment, bullying, and violence that impact students, families and communities;
- Created a Child Sexual Predator Task Force to enhance training for law enforcement and prosecutors to aid in the investigation and prosecution of child sexual predators. The program is funded with a $493,000 Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant which was awarded to our office and also includes prevention and education programs helping youth and families;
- Created a Citizen's Advisory Board to advise and assist the Office in the areas of community outreach and education, crime prevention, community prosecution, civic engagement, social justice and civil rights issues;
- Coordinated with community partners several National Prescription Drug Take Back Days in the Northwestern District resulting in the removal of more than 18 tons of unwanted prescription and nonprescription drugs from our communities and spearheaded the establishment of permanent drug take back boxes in 24 area police stations;
- Launched the Campaign to End Sexual Assault on Campuses, a multimedia educational campaign with the theme "Consent: The Difference Between Sex and Rape," aimed at increasing awareness and reporting of sexual assaults on campuses;
- Co-founded and co-chairs the Hampshire HOPE ( Heroin/Opioid Prevention and Education Coalition) and the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and North Quabbin Region
- Co-founded and co-chairs the Northwestern Anti-Crime Task Force to address drug trafficking and major felonies in the Northwestern District.
- Sullivan is a board member of the Governor's Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence, Honorary Co-Chairman of the 2015 and 2017 Massachusetts White Ribbon Campaign to end violence against women, and a member of the Massachusetts Children's Trust Fund Board of Directors. He currently serves on the Special Commission on Substance Addiction Treatment in the Criminal Justice System.
He has been president of the Hampshire County Bar Association, Chairman of the Hampshire Elder Law Program and President of Western Massachusetts Shelter for Homeless Veterans. He serves as an advisor to the Northwestern District Attorney's Child Advocacy Center and Northampton Domestic Violence-Free Zone Committee and he is an Easthampton Inter-Faith Cot Shelter volunteer.
He has been a youth soccer and basketball coach and continues to assist with the statewide MBA high school mock trial competition.
Sullivan graduated from Northeastern University Law School in 1986 and the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts in 1981.
He is married to Catherine Hancock and they are raising three children.