County District Attorney Thomas Spota, of Mt. Sinai, has been cleared to run for a fourth term following a New York Court of Appeals ruling on Thursday.
Suffolk voters had OK'd a measure in 1993 setting term limits on the position, however a 6-1 vote upheld the same ruling made by two lower courts, stating that the DA is a state constitutional officer, not subject to county laws.
According to Newsday, the majority submitted the following explanation, in part: “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 of an incumbent district attorney whose investigatory or prosecutorial actions were unpopular or contrary to the interests of county legislators."
Spota defeated three-time incumbent James Catterson, Jr. in 2001 to earn the role as Suffolk's top cop. He later ran twice unopposed, and on Sept. 10, will face off in a primary against Ray Perini, a former prosecutor in the Brooklyn D.A. Office who has run his own firm since 1989, and sought to get Spota off the ballot.
Campaign filings submitted earlier this month show Spota with over $660,000 to spend, and Perini with just over $125,000.