Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly was elected president of the National District Attorneys Association last month in Portland, Ore. He will be president-elect until July, when he will become president of the 7,000-member organization.
A member of the association's board of directors since 1996, he was recently its treasurer.
First elected to the Harford post in 1982, he is serving his seventh term as the county's lead prosecutor. He has instituted numerous programs, including the establishment of a Narcotics Task Force, a domestic violence unit, a Child Advocacy Center and Family Justice Center, three drug courts, a driving under the influence court and a mental health court.
He also has held several offices with the Maryland State's Attorneys' Association and has served two terms as its president.
After graduating from John Carroll High School in 1968, Cassilly joined the Army and served in the infantry. He was awarded a Combat Infantry Badge, an Army Commendation Medal and a Purple Heart for battle wounds during the Vietnam War.
"He is a true American hero and highly respected by his peers," said Tom Charron, the national group's executive director.
Cassilly said that in his new post he will work to educate citizens and government officials on the problems of victims of and witnesses to violent crimes.
More than 95 percent of criminal cases nationwide are tried by state and local prosecutors.
"Nationwide, prosecutors are being pressured to deal with ever more violent and complicated crimes without adequate resources, training and support," he said.
Cassilly, a lifelong Harford resident, is married to Diana Susan Cassilly and is the father of five children. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and received his law degree in 1977 from the University of Baltimore Law School.
He has been active on issues affecting the disabled and served on design teams for both Baltimore sports stadiums.
In 2002, Cassilly was named an Outstanding Marylander with a Disability.