Chautauqua County District Attorney, Patrick Swanson since 2017. Previously served as Acting DA in 2016-2017, and Assistant DA from 2012-2016. Graduate of Wake Forest University in 2001 and U Memphis Law in 2008. Native of Sherman NY, currently lives in Fredonia with his wife and two children.
Swanson is committed to seeking justice for the citizens of Chautauqua County. CHQ County is the 23rd most populous county (130,000). The DAs office has 12.5 attorneys (12 full time and one part time) and 25 total employees. The office handles approximately four or five homicides per year for the last 4-5 years.
Swanson’s goal for the office is to increase the number of full time attorneys, when he took office in 2017, there were eight full time attorneys, now there are 12 (including the DA).
District Attorney’s office focuses on the following areas:
  • Narcotics
  • Sex Crimes
  • School Assistance
  • Police Training
  • Founding partner in the County Opioid Court
  • Participates in Erie County Crime Analysis Center
Q - What is the ideal number of attorneys on staff?
A - In the long term, Swanson would like to have 18 attorneys on staff, in line with counties with similar work loads (Ulster County and Schenectady County - each have 25 attorneys on staff).
Q - What is your job?
A - Represent the People, per the NYS Penal Law. The office receives case files after arraignment.
Q - Have you had to “farm out” work?
A - DA office does not “farm out” traffic violations.
Q - How many attorneys are in the Public Defenders office?
A - Currently there are 16 attorneys in the CHQ County PD office. They struggle to find local, qualified candidates (as does the DA office).
Q - According to the National Safety Traffic Management Report in 2019, 80% of DWI’s in CHQ county were dismissed or reduced to lesser charges.
A - There has been a steady decrease in DWI’s in CHQ county, in 2019 there were 58 felony DWI convictions.
Q - What happened in the Leland Bresee trial?
A - Leland Bresee plead guilty in 2019 to second-degree rape and was sentenced to six months time served in jail, in addition to 10 years probation. He is currently in State Prison.
Joni Blackman thanked Patrick Swanson for his time and indicated that a donation in his name would be made to Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign.