Yates County DA Todd Casella named ‘Attorney of the Year’
NYPTI 2021 Attorney of the Year Award Recognizing Casella’s “Executive Leadership”
Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella was named “Attorney of the Year” by the New York Attorney’s Training Institute (NYPTI) at the Attorneys Association’s summer conference. New York on June 26 in Lake George.
Casella’s nomination for “executive leadership” was submitted by retired Ontario County District Attorney Mike Tantillo, who currently serves as a part-time Assistant District Attorney in Yates County. When asked why he thought Casella deserved the award, Tatillo wrote: “While I could have listed a number of other important cases pursued by DA Todd Casella, I am nominating him for the prosecutor’s award. the year because of his determination and relentless pursuit of justice in People v. Kelly Anderson. A 16-month-old was murdered 18 years ago in Yates County, but no prosecution has ever been initiated due to the inability to determine which of the child’s guardians was guilty. Over the years, three separate district attorneys in Yates County did not believe there was sufficient evidence to support the charges.
“On becoming District Attorney, DA Casella undertook a new review of the voluminous files of the case. He requested a DNA analysis which had not been performed during the original investigation. More importantly, he applied for and obtained wiretapping warrants and extensions, and thoroughly investigated a large number of intercepted conversations. After literally spending hundreds of hours on his own examination and investigation, DA Casella took the case to a grand jury and obtained an indictment of murder against the [victim’s] mother. After hundreds of additional hours of preparation with witnesses locally and across the country, and after consulting and withholding expert witnesses, DA Casella has been involved in the trial of this case for the past two weeks. He was motivated above all by the desire to seek justice for the innocent child victim. ”
Surprised by the news of the award, Casella replied, “Receiving this award was as overwhelming and unexpected as the nomination was. The honor of this recognition is immense and would not have been possible without the support, patience and dedication of my wife, the commitment and hard work of my staff, NYPTI and my fellow prosecutors across the state to their advice and support; and the investigators who worked tirelessly on the case. It is my great honor and privilege to be the Yates County District Attorney and to be part of the larger community of law enforcement and district attorneys who are committed to the pursuit of justice. “
Although Casella is in his first term as a prosecutor, he has lectured at several NYPTI conferences, on topics of interest to new and experienced prosecutors. Calling Casella a “techie,” Tantillo said he also wrote articles for State Attorney of the Empire, and has been responsible for training many prosecutors, paralegals and regional secretaries on how to comply with New York State’s demanding new discovery requirements. “Over two dozen employees in many DA offices in the Finger Lakes region and beyond have participated in these training programs,” said Tantillo.