Representative Kay Khan Speaks at the District Attorney Marian Ryan's Swearing In Ceremony
Updated: Sep 17, 2019
Read Representative Khan's remarks:
Mayor Fuller; Judge Heffernan; Senators Creem and Eldridge; Representatives Balser, Gordon and Linsky; City Councilors; School Committee Members, other elected officials and audience, it is my great honor and pleasure to be here at Newton City Hall as one of your Representatives this evening for the Administration of the Oath of Office to Marian T. Ryan, reelected, for a second term as District Attorney (DA) of Middlesex County representing the largest county with 54 cities and towns comprising over one quarter of the population of Massachusetts.
The role of a District Attorney is extremely important in every way imaginable. DA Ryan has to decide whether to prosecute a case, she must investigate the evidence, decide if a plea bargain will be offered, conduct trials and litigate appeals.
Every decision in the process counts.
District Attorney Ryan, an open-minded progressive leader, a summa cum laude graduate of Emmanuel College and a cum laude graduate of Boston College Law School, was first appointed as Middlesex County DA, by Governor Deval Patrick and won her first election for DA in 2014. She is a career prosecutor with significant courtroom experience having prosecuted many of Middlesex County’s most complex and challenging cases. She is a talented appellate attorney and has briefed and argued more than 40 cases in the Massachusetts Appeals Court and Supreme Judicial Court. As District Attorney, she is responsible for the prosecution of approximately 40,000 cases a year.
From her professional as well as personal experience, DA Ryan has learned that as important as prosecution is, prevention is equally as important and leads to better outcomes. She is a recognized expert on developing and creating innovative solutions that are defined by not simply getting involved after a criminal act has occurred, but instead taking meaningful steps to stop crime before it happens.
She was the only one of the 11 DA's in Massachusetts and the only woman at the time not to sign on to a 2015 letter to the Boston Globe Editor defending Mandatory Minimum Sentences. She was one of a very few DA’s in MA to highlight her support of the legislature’s 2018 important criminal justice reform bill which brought sweeping changes to a system that hadn't moved forward in years especially for youth, emerging adults and justice-involved women, many of whom are mothers. These are also areas that I have been championing for years. In fact, we were both invited to Germany in 2018 by the Columbia University Justice Lab to view their innovative approach to youth and emerging adults involved in the justice system. What we learned will influence Massachusetts’ approach as we are beginning an exploration of the specific concerns of emerging adults aged 18-24, knowing that we need to do better.
DA Ryan has moved to end the use of cash bail for low-level crimes and has developed valuable court diversion programs that steer less serious cases out of the criminal justice system -- a movement toward a restorative justice approach.
DA Ryan has been a leader in domestic violence prevention and prosecution for over three decades and has conducted trainings across the county for prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and service providers on recognizing the signs of domestic violence. She joined a task force at the State House at my request to draft a bill to end child marriage in the Commonwealth. Many of these young married women also experience domestic violence.
As DA, she has created a Conviction Integrity Unit to review closed cases where there has been a claim of a potential wrongful conviction. She regularly lectures and leads workshops on workplace safety, the dangers of prescription drug abuse, teen dating violence, anti-bullying, and distracted driving. She has been acknowledged for her early leadership on substance use disorders. In partnership with me, one of her first programs was held right here at Newton Wellesley Hospital.
She has also developed initiatives aimed at protecting our seniors and keeping children safe including reminding parents to remove children and pets from cars during the hot summer months when running errands.
Marian Ryan served unstintingly on the Child Mandated Reporter Working Group that I created with Senator Lovely as Co- Chairs of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities to clarify, enhance and strengthen the present protections against child abuse. This also resulted in my filing a bill this session building on the Working Group’s recommendations.
District Attorney Ryan has received a number of awards and peer recognition for her trial skills and community involvement including the Middlesex County Bar Association Lifetime Achievement Award and the Boston College Law School’s David Nelson Public Service Award.
District Attorney Ryan has significant teaching experience as an adjunct professor at both graduate and undergraduate levels. She is currently on the faculty of Lasell College in Newton, where she teaches courses in Constitutional Law and the American Legal System. She has previously taught at Emmanuel College, Wentworth Institute and at Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop.
She is committed, through her volunteer work with the Women’s Bar Foundation, to mentoring women lawyers and law students as they begin their legal careers. She has also served on the faculty of numerous professional and community boards focused on training practicing lawyers, including the National Association of District Attorneys, the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association, and Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education.
On a personal note, I would like to acknowledge DA Ryan’s, integrity, proactive approach, commitment to solving problems pertaining to criminal justice and her willingness to be consulted and serve on task forces and commissions that explore these complex issues. She is actively invested and interested in her work. She is always available and immediately responsive when a crime or a catastrophic situation occurs. To quote Senator Brownsberger, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, "She has been a constructive voice that lifts people up instead of locking them up."
I consider her a friend and a close collaborator. I am so happy to have the opportunity to continue to work with her on many issues that we, as legislators representing Middlesex, work on on your behalf. I know that I am joined by the Middlesex delegation in congratulating her. We all consider her a partner in the work that we are doing for the county and the Commonwealth. We appreciate her willingness to learn and tackle new issues, her upbeat approach, friendship and her smile.
Congratulations also to the Assistant District Attorneys who will be sworn in tonight. It is a time to celebrate with friends and family. Thank you and happy 2019 to all.