New York - (WALK) The legal road is clear for Suffolk's district attorney to seek a fourth term in office.
New York State's highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled in Spota's favor Wednesday, upholding the decisions of two lower courts by a margin of 6- 1.
Spota (pictured), a Democrat, was first elected in 2001 and is cross-endorsed by the Republican, Conservative, and Independence parties. A Republican challenger, criminal attorney Ray Perini, filed suit claiming Suffolk's 12-year term-limit regulation also applies to Spota. The judges determined a district attorney is a state consitutional officer, and a DA's term cannot be limited by a county legislature.
"The state has a fundamental and ovrriding interest in ensuring the integrity and independence of the office of district attorney," according to the majority opinion.
"Permitting county legislators to impose term limits on the office of district attorney would have the potential to impair the independence of that office because it would empower a local legislative body to effectively end the tenure or prosecutorial actions that were unpopular or contrary to the interests of county legislators."
Perini will reportedly compete with Spota for the Republican Party nomination in a primary election on September 10.
Photo: Suffolk County District Attorney