Our advocates, prosecutors, and staff fight every day for the victims of crime who may be a vulnerable senior, a young child, or a battered spouse. We are committed to addressing the challenges of substance abuse, child abuse, domestic violence and other serious matters impacting the safety and quality of life in our 47 Northwestern communities.
The Appellate Unit litigates post-conviction appeals and cases in which the Commonwealth itself pursues an appeal.
The Child Abuse Unit specializes in investigating and prosecuting cases involving the abuse of children and uses a child-friendly setting, the Children's Advocacy Center to help children feel comfortable and safe. The C.A.U. partners with local and national experts to seek just outcomes and to provide support, medical care, and mental health services to victims and their families. Child Abuse Unit members work to stop child abuse and child abusers, to protect children, and to keep children and families safe and healthy.
The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office is dedicated to investigating claims of wrongful convictions and taking remedial action as necessary to correct such errors. The office is also committed to facilitating access to post-conviction DNA testing for viable innocence claims. To that end, the District Attorney formed a Conviction Integrity Committee. The Conviction Integrity Review Process has been devised to minimize the impact of cognitive biases and respond to claims of wrongful convictions in a fair, efficient, and comprehensive manner. The Committee reviews claims raised by G. L. c. 278A motions, Rule 30 motions for new trial that include a claim of factual innocence, or through letter to the District Attorney’s Office by a convicted defendant, or an attorney who represented or currently represents a convicted defendant, that alleges a wrongful conviction.
District Court is the gateway to the justice system. It is where the vast majority of criminal cases in Massachusetts are handled. The district courts have jurisdiction over all misdemeanors, including drug offenses, weapons offenses and motor vehicle offenses.
Community Prosecution is a pro-active, solutions-based approach to justice where prosecutors are both a representative of and a leader in a community. Community prosecutors reach out to community groups, schools, faith-based groups and other community organizations to identify concerns and prioritize strategies for addressing them, working with local and state police and other government agencies to share intelligence, strategize, and support.
Domestic Violence is a behavior used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological. Domestic Violence also includes abuse between individuals related by blood or that live in the same household. The Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit specializes in the prosecution of cases involving family, partner or household violence. The unit also provides domestic violence prosecution and prevention trainings for law enforcement, battered women's advocates and community groups.
Elders and Persons with Disabilities
The Elders and Persons with Disabilities Unit helps provide equal access to the criminal justice system for people with disabilities and for elder victims of crime. It aims to improve protection, increase awareness and expand outreach and education for all segments of the community.
The Juvenile Justice Unit works to reduce youth violence and crime using a coordinated community approach which includes early intervention and prevention. In addition, when appropriate, the unit handles those serious juvenile cases who are indicted as Youthful Offenders, thus making them open to full adult criminal prosecution.
Restorative Justice is an integral part of the Northwestern District Attorney's justice practices. It is a theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by criminal behavior. Restorative justice offers an opportunity to hold individuals accountable for their actions in a manner that helps the individuals understand the impact of their actions on others and their community while seeking to make things as right as possible for those that have been impacted. The practice also helps offenders build skills and gain understanding to help reduce the likelihood of reoffending in the future.
Sexual Assault is a devastating crime with far-reaching consequences. Assailants can be strangers, acquaintances, friends, or family members. The Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit works collaboratively with the police to investigate and prosecute crimes involving a sexual assault on an adult (18 years of age or older). Unit staff also work jointly with local rape crisis agencies, medical providers, and law enforcement officers to raise awareness of sexual assault, prevent future incidents of sexual violence, and create and utilize victim-centered, trauma-informed approaches to responding to reports of sexual assault.
State Police Detectives
The State Police Detective Unit investigates major felonies and handles special investigations in the jurisdiction. The State Police Narcotics Unit works closely with the Detective Unit, local police and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute drug cases in the jurisdiction.
The Child Sexual Predator Project was launched in November 2011 and is funded by a United States Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant. It is an initiative of the Northwestern District Attorney's Office which seeks to protect children from sexual predators through the use of computer forensics, investigation, prosecution and education.
Superior Court is the court in which major felonies such as murder, robbery, drug trafficking and serious crimes of violence and abuse are prosecuted. These types of cases must first be presented to a Grand Jury, which issues indictments charging defendants with these serious crimes.