Sunday to run for DA, receiving Kearney's support

Sean Philip Cotter
  • York County District Attorney Tom Kearney will not seek re-election in 2017.
  • Chief deputy prosecutor Dave Sunday announced his candidacy for DA.
  • Kearney threw his support behind Sunday.

York County District Attorney Tom Kearney will not seek re-election in 2017, instead opting to throw his support in the upcoming race for the position behind one of his top prosecutors.

Chief deputy prosecutor Dave Sunday, who co-chairs the York County Heroin Task Force, announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for district attorney on Tuesday in the same release that made public Kearney's decision.

David Sunday, chief deputy prosecutor for the York County District Attorney's Office, makes a point while appearing on a panel with York County Coroner Pam Gay during a public hearing "Heroin and Opioid Addiction, Treatment and Recovery" at the Yorktowne Hotel on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. The hearing was sponsored by Rural Pennsylvania, a legislative agency of the state general assembly. Bill Kalina phooto

Sunday focused on the drug trade as the most important law-enforcement issue in York County. The Carroll Township resident said it is "the driving factor of violence, theft and other crimes related to substance abuse," according to the news release, in which Sunday and Kearney commended each other's work.

Sunday and York County Coroner Pam Gay created the heroin task force in 2014, and it continues to operate as a coalition of law enforcement, health personnel, advocates and community leaders aimed at addressing what local officials repeatedly have called a heroin epidemic.

He stressed the recent prosecutions for drug deliveries resulting in death — times when people are accused of selling drugs that lead to someone's death — in getting dealers off the streets. The release also touted the 85 presentations he and Gay have given to schools and community groups to try to better educate people about the dangers of heroin.

York man charged, denied bail in heroin death

Background: Sunday was promoted to the position of chief deputy prosecutor in 2010, one year after the Penn State and Widener Law grad joined the DA's office as prosecutor. Sunday is a Navy veteran who served in the Persian Gulf during operation Desert Strike and took part in numerous counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean and South America, according to the release.

York County District Attorney Tom Kearney looks at a pound of marijuana Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, during a press conference at the Penn Township municipal offices announcing major drug arrests. Three California men, including a deputy with the Yuba County Sheriff's Department, were arrested Dec. 29 with 247 pounds of marijuana, which was confiscated along with two vehicles, $11,000 in cash and the deputy's service firearm. (Bill Kalina - The York Dispatch)

Since 2013, Sunday has served as a special assistant to the federal prosecutor's office in Harrisburg. He has helped prosecute federal gang, drug and gun cases, the release states.

Sunday is one of three chief deputy prosecutors; he's the chief of litigation for the DA's office. The position of chief deputy prosecutor is below only the district attorney and the first assistant district attorney within the administration.

Sunday is the first person to declare the intention to run for the county's top law-enforcement position. Kearney, who had been a local defense attorney for years, was elected district attorney in 2009, promising to hold the position for no more than two four-year terms. He was re-elected in 2013.

Sunday won’t have to resign his post in the county district attorney’s office in order to seek election as the top cop, said Glenn Smith, the county solicitor.

Smith noted former county solicitor Mike Flannelly didn’t have to resign when he was seeking election to the York County Court of Common Pleas bench.

— Reach Sean Cotter or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD. Staff writer Greg Gross contributed to this report.