Who will succeed Lynne Abraham? Part 2

April 23, 2009 4:47:31 PM PDT
After nearly 20 years as Philadelphia's District Attorney, Lynne Abraham is not running for reelection. That opening has 6 men, 5 Democrats and 1 Republican, seeking the post.

All have worked as assistant D.A. during their legal careers.

Brian Grady, now in private practice for 10 years, says Abraham's administration has triggered a lack of trust across the spectrum, from judges to potential witnesses.

"They concentrate too much of their efforts on petty, nonviolent crimes; it looses them credibility with the bench. It lost them credibility with the communities. You can't prosecute cases effectively without the communities' involvement," Grady said.

Michael Turner started out as a prosecutor, but has spent 20 years building and managing a lucrative private practice. He promises to campaign here and at the state level to toughen handgun laws in Philadelphia and he promises to be fiercely independent if elected.

"I'm going to not take any money from any PACs, I'm not going to accept any endorsement from any PACs, and I think in doing that, I'm not beholden to anybody, they're not going to be any conflicts, and I'm going to be able to pursue municipal corruption cases very, very aggressively as D.A., " Turner said.

Michael Untermeyer, the lone Republican in the race, faces no opposition.

The nomination has been handed to him. He, too, is highly critical of Lynne Abraham, especially her controversial tendency to seek the death penalty in a large volume of cases.

"The death penalty has been way overused in Philadelphia; we have the deadliest district attorney in the country, and yet, we have one of the highest per capita homicide rates in any city in the country. The death penalty should be used in limited instances, specifically in cases involving police shootings and cases involving torture," Untermeyer said.

Despite all the sound and fury in this town about stopping violent crime, the district attorney's election is always a low voter turnout affair.

If 15-percent of the registered voters go to the polls on May 19, the experts will be shocked.

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