Chemung County has new DA
Weeden Wetmore's New Year's resolution was unlike most people's.
Instead of a self-serving promise, Wetmore's resolution was a bit more pervasive.
Wetmore vowed Tuesday to uphold the Constitution and seek justice for crime victims in Chemung County when he officially took the office of district attorney.
Wetmore was sworn in during an afternoon ceremony at the Chemung County Courthouse.
“I was very humbled by the support I received,” Wetmore said of his campaign to become district attorney.
More than 150 people - including state Sen. George Winner, R-Elmira, state Assemblyman Tom O'Mara, R-Horseheads, Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss and county Executive Tom Santulli - packed the courthouse.
“(Wetmore's) a person with a great mind and a quick wit,” said Chemung County Judge James Hayden, a friend and former colleague. “It is Weeden who has taught me.”
Hayden, retired appellate Judge D. Bruce Crew III and local attorney John O'Mara presided over Tuesday's ceremony. All three are former Chemung County district attorneys and people whom Wetmore considers friends and teachers.
“Under (those three), this office was one of the most respected in the state,” Wetmore said. “I will try to return the office to that stature.”
Wetmore has retained much of former District Attorney John Trice's staff.
“I want to empower the assistant district attorneys, with discretion,” he said. “It will take training, experience and teaching.”
Wetmore worked as an assistant district attorney from the late 1970s until 1999, under Crew, John O'Mara and Hayden.
“(Wetmore) was a terrific assistant,” Crew said of Wetmore's time as a prosecutor.
Wetmore remembers those days fondly.
“We worked hard and we played hard,” Wetmore said, telling several anecdotes about his time working with the men.
Since 1999, Wetmore has worked at the Davidson and O'Mara Law Firm in Elmira -- where John O'Mara is a senior partner. Wetmore earned partner status at the law firm.
Beyond focusing on high-profile cases, Wetmore said his office will also fight for every victim in Chemung County.
“If we effectively prosecute those cases (less serious), we can improve the quality of life in Chemung County,” Wetmore said.
Said John O'Mara: “It's a great day for Weeden and his family, for the district attorney's office and the people of Chemung County ...”