Paul A. Capofari
Chief Assistant District Attorney
Paul A. Capofari is a native Staten Islander who attended St. Mary of the Assumption School and graduated from Port Richmond High School. He was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1972. Paul graduated from West Point as a Cadet Captain in the upper quarter of his class and attended Airborne and Ranger school. He was assigned to the 25th Division at Schofield Barracks Hawaii. After five years of infantry service, Capofari was selected to be part of the Army-funded legal education program and attended New York Law School. He graduated cum laude in 1980 and joined the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps, assigned to various posts throughout the United States. While working at the Pentagon in 1988, then Major Capofari wrote the Army AIDS policy and appeared as a witness before the President’s Commission on the HIV epidemic. He was also assigned to the Office of the White House Counsel during the trials in the Iran-Contra affair where he worked on the Classified Information Procedures Act.
In 1990, Capofari was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and assigned to West Point to teach law. While on the faculty, he was twice named the NUI honor instructor and co-authored the text book, “Constitutional Law for the Citizen-Soldier.” He retired from the Army after 21 years of service in 1993 and returned to Staten Island to work in the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office. During his 19 years, ADA Capofari prosecuted People v. Papapietro, a drug ring that was responsible for bringing 50 kilograms of cocaine to Staten Island each year; People v. DiRubbio & Merolle, two police officers convicted of official misconduct and kicked off the police force for their role in the notorious “Untouchables” car theft ring; and was assigned as lead counsel in the prosecution of Ronell Wilson, who assassinated two undercover police officers in 2003. He was eventually promoted to Chief of the Supreme Court Bureau and supervised ADAs prosecuting felonies including shootings, burglaries, robberies, and narcotics. His most satisfying prosecution was that of a local builder who ordered a 15-foot deep trench dug without any proper reinforcement. The trench collapsed, killing one worker and injuring another. The case was the first homicide conviction in New York for a construction trench collapse.
In 2012, Capofari left the prosecutor’s office to establish a law firm with his son. Three years later, he has heeded the call to return to public service and is once again with the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office, working as the Chief Assistant DA.
Capofari met his wife Sharon in high school; they live on Staten Island, have four grown children and eleven grandchildren.