Sol Greenberg (Youtube)
Sol Greenberg, whose 25 years as Albany County district attorney made him one of the longer-serving prosecutors in New York history, died on April 20. He was 95.
Among the notable occurrences in his tenure as DA from 1975 to 2000 was his office’s use of DNA evidence to convict a defendant in 1987 of the rape and murder of an elderly Albany woman.
Greenberg said in his retirement that he believed the case was one of the first in which DNA evidence was introduced at a criminal trial in New York.
U.S. District Senior Judge Lawrence Kahn said he first ran for state judicial office at the same time that Greenberg initially sought the district attorney’s post in the mid-1970s.
“He was a sweet and gentle guy,” Kahn said in an interview April 21. “He understood that the responsibility of being a prosecutor was to get justice, not just to put people in jail. He was very human, very empathetic to everybody.”
Greenberg, a Democrat, won his first election for DA in 1974 and was re-elected six times.
He retired in August 2000 at age 78.
As he was retiring, Greenberg told the New York Law Journal that a key to his longevity was picking good assistants and letting them do their jobs (NYLJ, Sept. 20, 2000).
“I treat these people as professionals,” Greenberg said. “I leave things to their good, professional judgment.”
Greenberg was a 1948 graduate of Albany Law School who worked in private practice for more than 25 years specializing in estates and trusts before being selected by Albany County’s powerful Democratic Party organization to run for DA.
He was survived by his wife of more than 70 years, Bea, and two children, son Harry Greenberg and daughter Elizabeth Friedland. Funeral arrangements were incomplete as of April 21.