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Our job is to make Philadelphia safer and more just for all who live and work here. 

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office makes decisions every day about who to prosecute, what charges to bring, and what punishments are appropriate. . All of which influences how our city’s larger criminal justice system deploys its limited assets: a police officer’s time, court resources, investigative tools, and even jail cells.  

We know the decisions we make today will impact the safety of our city, the rights of our fellow citizens, and the well-being of the neighborhoods and communities we serve for years if not generations to come. community-centered approach to justice requires us to consider long-term consequences of our actions.  For too long, our city has suffered from decades of discriminatory policing and overincarceration, with our communities of color bearing the brunt. 

Instead of playing into reactionary politicswe carefully examine the data on what’s working in the criminal justice system and what isn’t. We have criminologists and policymakers on staff researching the best new thinking on criminal justice and law enforcement from here and around the country.   

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“To ensure safety and justice, you have to on the one hand resort to intelligent traditional enforcement, hopefully modernized. But on the other hand, you have to do what has not been done in the past, which is community building.”

LARRY KRASNER
District Attorney
City of Philadelphia

CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS

Empowerment starts with understanding the system.

While each criminal case is different, most follow a common path. Our Victim & Witness Coordinators can help guide you and your family through every step.

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CHARGING UNIT

Getting the right outcome starts at the beginning: defining the crime.
The Assistant District Attorneys in the Charging Unit promptly review all sight arrests and arrest warrants and determine which charges our office will prosecute.

MUNICIPAL COURT UNIT

The prosecutors in our Municipal Court Unit handle the majority of cases in Philadelphia.
Our Municipal Court Unit prosecutors are responsible for handling misdemeanor cases and most felony preliminary hearings.
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“We’re the face, engine and heart of the office. In handling the most cases, we touch the most lives.”

DEBORAH WATSON-STOKES
Supervisor
Municipal Court Unit

PRE-TRIAL UNIT

We strive to resolve felony cases to ensure outcomes that are in the public’s best interest.
Prosecutors in our Pre-Trial Unit handle felony cases after preliminary hearings, making plea offers and diversion decisions to dispose of cases as early and as fairly as possible. 

“We make sure that prosecutorial discretion is not affected by personal bias, racism and classism and that the victims’ injuries are also taken into account.”

LIAM RILEY
Supervisor
Pre-Trial Unit

“Increased transparency leads to lots more litigation. As a result, we now have 10,000 Post Conviction Relief Act petitions pending and it is our intent to get to all of them.”

NANCY WINKELMAN
Supervisor
Law Division

ALTERNATIVES TO PROSECUTION & INCARCERATION:

Diversion is a proven strategy for reducing crime in communities throughout the country.
When a crime is committed and an arrest is made, we often move forward with traditional prosecution. But for some offenses, where defendants meet eligibility criteria, diversion offers smarter, more effective alternatives to prosecution and incarceration.
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“We envision fewer diversionary programs that are easier for the public to understand and support.
More than that, we are designing programs that are anti-racist, anti-classist and anti-sexist.”

MIKE LEE
Supervisor
Diversion Unit

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SPECIAL CASES

Our most complex cases are handled by our most accomplished prosecutors.

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“We don’t stop thinking about the suffering that families go through, waking every day missing someone who was taken so suddenly and violently. 
They deserve answers.

CHESLEY LIGHTSEY
Supervisor
Homicides & Non-Fatal Shootings Unit

HOMICIDES & NON-FATAL SHOOTINGS

Gun violence and homicide continue to be devastating forces in Philadelphia communities. We take seriously our obligation to bring to justice those who take the lives of other.

ECONOMIC & PROPERTY CRIMES

When people try to steal or cheat others out of their money, their properties, or their very identities, we act.

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IMMIGRATION COUNSEL

We seek to ensure immigrants, regardless of their status, feel safe participating in the criminal justice system.

FAMILY VIOLENCE & SEXUAL ASSAULT

In prosecuting family violence, sexual assault and child abuse cases, we fight relentlessly for accountability.

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“When you think about criminal justice reform moving forward, you are never going to have real buy-in until you’re willing to go backwards to make sure you take care of the people that suffered already.”

PATRICIA CUMMINGS
Supervisor
Conviction Integrity Unit

GUN VIOLENCE TASK FORCE

By working collaboratively with our law enforcement partners, we pursue the drivers of gun violence.

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“Going after public corruption, particularly police misconduct, advances criminal justice reform and begins to restore trust between law enforcement and communities.”

TRACY TRIPP
Supervisor
Special Investigations Unit