Longtime Monroe County District Attorney Howard Relin dies

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Monroe County’s longest-serving district attorney is being remembered for his

Howard Relin served four terms before stepping down in 2003. All told, he spent nearly 35 year working in the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office.

Relin was a familiar face in the newspaper and on TV during his tenure. His office tackled some of the area’s most tragic cases, including the convictions of Kali Poulton’s killer, Mark Christie; Jennifer Koon’s killer, Willis Knight; serial killer Arthur Shawcross; and some of the suspects associated with Rochester’s mob wars. He was also in office when 13-year-old Stephne Givens was stabbed to death by a classmate outside her Rochester middle school.

“Howard, in my humble opinion, will go down as the best D.A. in the history of Monroe County,” said Charles Siragusa, who worked as First Assistant District Attorney under Relin and is now a federal judge. “He was a good prosecutor, a good mentor, and even better person. I will always be grateful to Howard because he gave me the opportunity to serve as his first assistant to be able to handle some of the notable cases in Monroe County.”

Monroe County District Attorney described her former boss as someone who was dedicated to both his work, and his staff.

“He was kind. He was funny. He loved being the District Attorney. He loved our office. He just had this magnetic personality,” she said. “We all have probably funny stories to tell about Howard. Every spring, especially around the Master’s time, he would wear his green jacket and walk around the office. During holidays, he’d always have the most outrageous plaid coat. He was a lot of fun, but he took his job seriously.”

Former District Attorney Mike Green agreed.

“One of the things that really stood out about Howard was the way he cared about people in the office, you know, whether you were a member of the support staff, whether you were a line attorney, whether you were a supervisor, Howard cared about everybody in the office as a person.”

Relin is survived by his wife, Betsy, the former Democratic Elections Commissioner. He was 81.