One of the nation’s key prosecutor jobs will change hands next year when Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham leaves the office she has held since 1991. The Philadelphia Inquirer says Seth Williams, who worked under Abraham for 10 years, should succeed her. The decision is likely to be made in the Democratic Party primary election May 19. The D.A. manages a staff of 300 lawyers and a $30 million budget, in a criminal-justice system that handles more than 1,000 cases weekly. In a city plagued by gun violence, the job is critical to public safety and quality of life, the Inquirer says.
Williams, 42, would attack the prevalence of guns in the city with a “holistic” approach, including more aggressive targeting of illegal straw purchasers and working with community groups to dissuade young men from the gun culture. The police union has endorsed Williams. To reduce the large number of cases that now get dismissed, he would assign teams of assistant district attorneys to neighborhoods. He said that will enable experienced prosecutors to make smarter decisions about what charges to bring, and encourage witnesses to come forward.