ADA Mulhern earns raves for what he does in court, on streets

Melissa Tabeek, Special to the Reporter
Apr. 19, 2012

Daniel P. Mulhern: Busy in court, busy on streetDaniel P. Mulhern: Busy in court, busy on street
Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Daniel P. Mulhern, who is said to have one heck of a three-point shot, was honored recently by UMass Boston with its Robert H. Quinn Award for Outstanding Community Leadership for his dedicated work in community prosecution.

“Dan Mulhern has a dedication to early prevention and intervention, said Captain Richard Sexton, commander of the C-11 police district, who recommended the prosecutor for the Quinn Award. Mulhern, who heads up the district attorney’s Gang Unit and Safe Neighborhood Initiative, and Sexton work together professionally, and Sexton both participate in basketball games with high school teen-agers from St. Peter’s Teen Center in Dorchester. “Dan’s willing to put the bad guys in jail, but he’s also willing to do the work to try to prevent kids from getting to the courthouse,” said Sexton.

Mulhern, a Suffolk Law School graduate, has been working in the DA’s office for almost nine years. Previously, he spent time in the Middlesex County prosecutor’s office.

Since coming back to Boston, he says, he has had the opportunity to work among knowledgeable colleagues and with the “best police department in the country” while giving back to his native city. “That personal connection to the city is another piece that makes this job important to me. I have a professional obligation and a personal obligation to do the best I can to keep our neighborhoods safe,” he says.

This ADA’s professional obligations do not end when he leaves the courtroom. Mulhern has been, and still is, involved in several different community organizations and initiatives such as the TenPoint Coalition, the Boston Reentry Initiative, the Peace Institute, Project RIGHT, the Department of Youth Services, and other groups.

Mulhern says he spends as much time as possible in the Boston Public Schools and at community centers. By becoming so deeply involved in the community, Mulhern says, he is able to do his job more effectively.

“Prosecution is a very important piece but a very small piece. You can’t prosecute in a bubble. You have an obligation to work with the community,” says Mulhern, who is quick to credit those around him as the reason for his ability to make a difference, in particular District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. He said that Conley’s leadership is what makes responsible and effective prosecution possible within their office. “ He is the first one in and the last to leave. He sets the example of what it means to be a prosecutor,” Mulhern says.

Mulhern’s team comprises nine prosecutors, including Mulhern, two victim witness advocates, and an administrative assistant. Each prosecutor is assigned to a specific part of the city, where they work closely with the Boston Police.

“When a case does come into the courtroom, or matures into being charged, we work together as a team to make sure that we present the best case possible,” says Mulhern.

In his letter recommending Mulhern for the Quinn award, Conley wrote, “It’s his work on basketball courts, at community meetings, and in coffee shops and subway stations long after the workday is done that lies at the heart of my recommendation.”