District Attorney Kathleen M. Rice's Biography
Kathleen Rice brings passion, innovation, and creativity to the office of the Nassau County District Attorney. Elected in 2005 and re-elected in 2009, Kathleen is the first woman to serve as Nassau’s chief law enforcement officer.
As district attorney, Kathleen has been a champion for progressive criminal justice policies, which have achieved impressive results and commanded national attention. Immediately after taking office in 2006, Kathleen took on the epidemic of drunk driving on Long Island. She’s helped to author and champion passage of legislation to enact tougher penalties on those who drink and drive with kids in the car and on those drunk drivers who injure other motorists on the road. She’s successfully prosecuted those who kill innocent victims on our roads with murder, and she’s dramatically reduced plea-bargaining for recidivist offenders. Kathleen’s efforts to combat drunk driving have been praised by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, profiled on CBS News’ 60 Minutes, and caused the New York Daily News to label her “the nation’s toughest prosecutor on DWI offenses.”
In 2008, Kathleen confronted Hempstead’s notorious open-air drug market with the Terrace-Bedell Initiative, a progressive offender-rehabilitation program that partnered with the community to reduce crime in the neighborhood. By facilitating substance abuse treatment, job training programs, and counseling, Kathleen’s initiative led to an 82% reduction in drug-related crime since the program’s inception. The project has been adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice for use in similar neighborhoods across the country.
Kathleen has worked to restore faith and trust in government by aggressively prosecuting those who violate the public trust. During her tenure, the DA’s Public Corruption Bureau has prosecuted both Democrats and Republicans who cheat the taxpayers for their own gain and brought more than 80 prosecutions for official misconduct.
Rice has revamped bureaus focused on the prosecution of domestic violence, and established new resources to protect of children and the elderly. She has also dedicated specialized resources to the investigation of identity theft rings, consumer frauds, animal cruelty, Medicaid fraud, and prescription drug abuse.
Kathleen’s work locally has brought about national change. When her office discovered widespread cheating on the SAT and ACT, Kathleen worked with SAT and ACT leaders to bring nationwide changes in test security to level the playing field for college-bound students. And when a shopper was trampled to death outside a Walmart on Black Friday, Kathleen was able to work with the global retailer to adopt new security and safety protocols for sale days at the their stores.
Kathleen Rice has dedicated her entire career to public service prosecuting crime at the local and federal levels. She served as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn prosecuting murders and rapes, and took on white-collar criminals as a federal prosecutor under U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
A resident of Garden City, Kathleen is a graduate of Garden City High School, Catholic University, and Touro Law School.