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Veroni to be first female chief of AG's criminal division

Stacey Veroni, who is familiar because of her efforts against domestic violence, is getting a significant promotion in the office of AG Patrick Lynch. She is the daughter of Tony Pires, a former House Finance Committee chairman who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2002.

Here's part of the release from the AG's office:

Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch announced today that he has named Assistant Attorney General Stacey Pires Veroni as the new Chief of the office’s Criminal Division. Veroni, who began her service in the Attorney General’s Office on the same day as Lynch in September 1994, is the first woman in the office’s history to head the Criminal Division. In this post, she will succeed Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Goulart, who last week was approved by the RI Senate to become a Traffic Tribunal Magistrate.

A 1990 graduate of Boston College and 1993 graduate of Suffolk University Law School, Veroni began her legal career in 1993 in the RI Judiciary, where she and Lynch served together in the law clerk pool assisting both Supreme and Superior Court judges. After joining the office under Attorney General Jeffrey B. Pine in 1994, she established herself quickly, climbing the ranks through stints in the Criminal Division’s District Court, Grand Jury, and Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault units, and later distinguishing herself as Chief of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit under then-Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse. In the Lynch administration, Veroni has prosecuted many cases on the trial calendar and continued her upward trajectory in management capacities, serving as Chief of the Washington County Office as well as the Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit, and, since July of 2006, as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division. Veroni has served as one of Lynch’s designees on the Attorney General’s Domestic Violence Task Force and is an adjunct faculty member at Salve Regina University. In 2006, Veroni received the RI Women’s Bar Association’s Ada Sawyer Annual Award of Excellence.

Among the more than 70 felony cases that Veroni has tried in the past 14 years are the domestic violence-murder case against Edwin Edwards, who was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole - the maximum penalty allowable in the Rhode Island criminal statutes; a case involving Joseph Fillion, a Cranston Police Officer who was convicted of multiple counts of domestic assault and whose conviction was featured on the CBS News program “48 Hours” in 2002; the so-called “severed hands” case against Frank Sanchez-Collins, who, along with his co-conspirator, Steven Quinlan, is now serving a life-without-parole sentence for having killed two young men; each of the four defendants implicated in the stomping murder that occurred outside the Keg Room nightclub in the Jewelry District of Providence in 2003; the cases against Alonzo Shelton and Barry Offley, who were convicted of killing Jessica Imran in Pawtucket in July 2006; and, most recently, the case against Katherine Bunnell, the Woonsocket woman convicted in May of beating her 3-year-old nephew, Thomas “TJ” Wright, to death in October of 2004. Bunnell will be sentenced in Providence Superior Court on Sept. 22.

“This is a proud day for our office, for Stacey Veroni, who has earned this position by never shrinking from a difficult case or neglecting to support her colleagues who were handling difficult cases or going through tough times in their lives, and for me personally,” Lynch said. “She is the rare person who is as good at managing others as she is at her primary calling, which, given her exemplary track record, is obviously prosecuting cases. Many exceptionally talented women work in this office. Many more have preceded them. None, however, has blazed the same trail as Stacey. I look forward to relying on her good counsel over the next two and a half years of my term.”

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