Michael Maloney, an independent candidate for Suffolk County district attorney, told Boston Public Radio Friday that he believes being accused of domestic abuse by his ex-wife makes him better equipped to do the job.
"I'm a flawed individual like everyone else, and I think actually having seen this and how the repercussions of a restraining order impact someone, how the repercussions of a criminal allegation [impacts] someone — I think it's actually, again, I don't want to call it a strength whatsoever, but [I have] the ability to perceive or acknowledge that these decisions impact people from both sides," Maloney said.
According to a restraining order filed in November 2014 which was reviewed by WGBH News, Maloney's then-wife alleged there had been several incidents where he had been physically violent, verbally abusive and had damaged personal property. The order described, among other incidents, an alleged event during which Maloney punched an oven, shattered the glass and threatened to cut the throat of his then-wife's father. The restraining order was vacated as part of the couple's divorce agreement in December 2015.
Maloney said he takes "full responsibility" for his actions, but said it would set a "pretty bad precedent for society" if voters judged him on what he described as the "lowest moment" of his life.
"What happened in my personal life is my personal life," Maloney said. "I take full responsibility. I'm not trying to hide the ball. I can tell you I've paid a price emotionally for my words and I'm not trying to hide."
"But I can say that if we were to judge individuals at the lowest point in their life, that's a pretty bad precedent for society as a whole," he continued.
Maloney is running for Suffolk DA as an independent candidate against Democratic nominee Rachael Rollins, who also joined Boston Public Radio Friday to discuss her candidacy.
Rollins has gained national attention for her platform to forgo prosecution of a number of low-level non-violent offenses, like shoplifting or certain drug possession charges. The proposal has been criticized by the Boston Police's union and a prominent local retailer's association.
"What I think we're doing now is criminalizing mental illness, addiction and poverty," Rollins said.
"What I'm doing is proposing a potential solution where we just do a 'quality control check' on these 15 [crimes] and see, pre-arraignment, whether these individuals need diversion [and] treatment instead of incarceration," she continued.
Rollins said she wants to focus the attention of the Suffolk DA's office on violent crimes. There have been 47 homicides in Boston this year.
"Why I did this, the most important thing of all of this, is I want to focus our attention on violent, serious crimes," she said.
WGBH News reporter Isaiah Thompson contributed to this report.