Former prosecutor promises to 'return focus to public safety' at DA's office
Former county prosecutor John Ceretto II will seek the Niagara County District Attorney's Office in this year's elections, the Lewiston-based attorney announced this morning.
Ceretto, a Western Michigan Law School graduate who served as a prosecutor for five years in the DA’s office, said he believes “public safety must again be paramount in our district attorney’s office, and I want to restore that office’s focus to keeping our neighborhoods, our children, and our family businesses safe by bringing an independent, non-political vision to the office.”
Since departing the district attorney’s office in 2018, Ceretto, a registered Independent, has focused his legal efforts on his private practice, based at offices in Lewiston and Lockport. He said that, while he’s enjoyed private practice, including criminal defense, he misses being on the prosecutor’s bench in the courtroom.
“Focusing on keeping the public safe was the most important legal work I’ve done,” Ceretto said. “As a prosecutor, you have a number of tools to help make our streets safer, and to ensure people that find themselves in the legal system have the right outcomes to prevent them becoming repeat offenders. It’s about making the best possible decisions on prosecutions for the community as a whole.”
In addition to being a former prosecutor, Ceretto is a licensed attorney for the child and is licensed to practice Part 36, which qualifies him to be appointed to a wide range of roles by the chief administrative judge of the 8th Judicial District. He also is a licensed real estate broker.
“I’ve been privileged to work in a number of areas of law over the years, and that experience means I’m ready to lead the DA’s office and make judicious decisions about how to best use our resources,” Ceretto said. The Niagara County District Attorney’s Office has a $4 million budget.
Ceretto is also active in the community. Born and raised in Lewiston, he notes with pride that he is both a communicant of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in the village, and works the Lewiston Kiwanis Club’s peach pop tent every year during the Lewiston Peach Festival.
“I never lost touch with my hometown of Lewiston and, as DA, I will fight to keep all of our hometowns safe,” Ceretto said. “That’s not a Republican idea or a Democratic idea, but it’s what our DA’s office really should be focused on.”
Ceretto also noted he plans to increase the DA’s office focus on a number of issues, but one in particular is near and dear to his heart.
“There have been far too many animal cruelty cases in this county, and we’re fortunate to have tools like an animal abuse registry,” Ceretto said. “Our DA’s office needs to use this tool as a deterrent.”
Ceretto, who as an attorney helped the White Whiskers Senior Dog Sanctuary launch as a not-for-profit, pointed to studies that have correlated animal cruelty with other violent criminal behavior.
“We need a DA’s office that thinks proactively about interdicting criminal behavior before it escalates to violence against people, instead of being reactive, prosecuting crimes after people have already been victimized and lives shattered,” Ceretto said. “We also need to focus resources on initiatives like community policing to ensure ‘broken windows’ issues don’t evolve into neighborhoods where families lose their sense of safety.”
Ceretto will formally launch his campaign at a Feb. 27 event in Lewiston.
He is the son of former Assemblyman John Ceretto and former Town of Lewiston Councilwoman Beth Ceretto.