Throughout her career, Elizabeth Scheibel ’77 has advocated for society’s most vulnerable victims, creating outreach programs in the areas of domestic violence, juvenile justice, and abuse of children, elders, and persons with disabilities. Her 1993 appointment as district attorney for the Massachusetts Northwestern District marked a first for a woman in the Commonwealth’s history
In 2010, Scheibel made international headlines by filing charges against nine students at South Hadley High School in connection with the suicide of Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old Irish immigrant. The Boston Globe honored Scheibel as one of its “Bostonians of the Year” for her prosecution work on that case.
Scheibel, a South Hadley native, studied science at Mount Holyoke College before earning a J.D. from Western New England College’s School of Law. After working for eight years in the Hampden County DA’s office, Schiebel moved—in 1988—to the northwestern DA’s office as first assistant to DA Judd Carhart. Six years later, when Carhart was named to the State Superior Court, Governor William Weld appointed Scheibel to finish out his term. She subsequently was elected to the position in 1994—and relected three more times.
In 1997, Scheibel performed her duties while battling breast cancer. In 2000, she was invited to Japan to educate legislators, judges, and law enforcement officials, about domestic abuse. A year later, Japan passed its first domestic violence law.
As DA, Scheibel also advocated for women’s leadership. When she retired, the top three positions in her office were all held by women, a situation unprecedented in Massachusetts.