We wish to congratulate and send best wishes to First Assistant District Attorney Dawn Catera Lupi, who has retired after working three decades as a prosecutor seeking justice against those who would harm and abuse children.
Tuesday, Dec. 31, was Lupi’s last day at the District Attorney’s Office after starting in 1988, only a year or so out of law school. She’s prosecuted 64 felony trials, many of them high profile. The Utica native graduated law school at Syracuse University in 1986 and worked in a private law firm in Syracuse for about a year while interviewing for prosecutor position in New York and Massachusetts.
She said she decided to become a lawyer on something of a whim.
“To be honest, I really didn’t know what to do. I thought my options were to be a history teacher — which I loved history — or to go to law school,” Lupi said.
She has worked hard to seek justice for children, but insists it’s those children who are the real heroes.
“The victims and witnesses who are willing to put their lives on the line, in a way, to come in and talk about some horrible things that have happened to them. To be that brave, to come in and sit at the witness stand and talk about horrible experiences, I can’t imagine what kind of bravery that takes — especially little kids,” Lupi said in a recent interview.
“That’s been really inspirational to me over the years, to see them being able to do that.”
Her future plans? Lupi said besides some traveling with her husband she plans to get a part-time job with the New York Prosecutors Training Institute, an arm of the District Attorney’s Association that helps with continuing legal education for prosecutors.