Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams will not run for re-election. The DA is mired in scandal after being accused of failing to disclose gifts from campaign contributors. The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) has also been looking to replace Williams. According to the FOP, Williams has declined to prosecute cases where the evidence is insubstantial. The purpose of this policy is purportedly to impact conviction rate statistics and crime statistics in the City.
There is a busy field of challengers looking to fill DA Williams position. The candidates include Rich Negrin, Joe Khan, former judge Teresa Carr Deni, Michael Untermeyer and defense attorney Lawrence Krasner. Experts predict that at least one additional candidate will enter the field before the primary in May.
The current level of vitriol against DA Williams in largely unfounded. The DA is responsible for an array of rehabilitative programs that have lowered recidivism rates. Under DA Williams, programs like Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (“ARD”), Accelerated Misdemeanor Program (“AMP”) and the Domestic Violence (“DV”) program became popular. While the DA certainly has made mistakes, he is often not credited for the positive change he brought to the office.