Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Today's take on the D.A. race/office

Two new pieces today:
  1. In the Inquirer, an article on Lynne Abraham's says that she's relying on her "tough cookie" reputation in this race.
    "She's one of the brightest people I've ever encountered in my whole life. She's deadly smart," said Dick Carroll, a former homicide prosecutor in Abraham's office. "But she'll tell you flat out, 'I'm in the business of trying people and putting them away.' She's not running a social-service agency."
    It also points out that her blunt approach has not always led to good effects:
    In the fall of 2002, the city's Common Pleas Court judges voted to pursue a misconduct complaint against Abraham for her blistering of judges, particularly Lisa Rau, who she said was biased against police officers' testimony. Many judges said Abraham was using the pulpit of her office to intimidate jurists.
    The author notes that Williams' challenge is actually about policy rather than a personal attack (as was her last primary opposition), quoting the FOP:
    "To be honest with you, we don't see where the quality of life has gotten better over the last 15 years," said Bobby Eddis, president of the union. "Lynne Abraham is a good woman, but there needs to be a change from time to time. Let's have a new look."
    However, Abraham managed to get in a personal attack against her challenger, calling him a "souffle: all air and no substance."

  2. Meanwhile, Tom Ferrick chimes in about Philly's sad crime and prosecution statistics:
    Hooray for Seth Williams for making the dismissal rates in Philadelphia courts a centerpiece of his campaign.
    The column goes on to describe the criminal legal process, and where cases tend to go awry. He agrees that the dismissal rate is way too high, but disagrees with Williams that the blame can be laid at the feet of unprepared prosecutors, arguing that the system is just overloaded.
    It should be written as the criminal JUSTICE system, because it should be about justice.

    When the system part overwhelms - the need to keep cases moving, the need to process defendants - it is the justice part that inevitably suffers.
    Indeed fodder for ongoing discussion, whatever the outcome of the upcoming primary.
Update: meantime, Philly blogistan is all over the Williams campaign, encouraging local voters to take a pledge to vote for him on May 17.


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