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Our Major Trials Unit prosecutes defendants who commit serious crimes.

Our Major Trials Unit evenhandedly prosecutes a wide variety of felony cases, usually in the Court of Common Pleas, including gunpoint robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, attempted murder, intimidation, violations of the Uniform Firearms Act (such as illegal gun possession) and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (commonly referred to as drug dealing).

We pursue these cases on behalf of the Commonwealth to promote public safety for Philadelphia communities while fulfilling our obligation to protect the rights of defendants as required by the U.S. Constitution. 

Our role is to seek justice in these cases on behalf of all people of the Commonwealth including: victims, witnesses, their families, among others.

Our unit is composed of dedicated prosecutors who have a strong grasp of case law and are talented trial advocates. We also have equally dedicated and capable paralegals, detectives, and support staff, including Victim & Witness Coordinators. 



“We handle violent crimes with an emphasis on compassion for the victims while upholding the highest standard of prosecutorial integrity.”

Major Trials Unit




Liam Riley
[email protected]
Assistant Supervisor:
Dawn Holtz
[email protected]




In pursuit of evenhanded, individual justice.

This is our  unit’s fundamental approach to all prosecutions within our purview, which means weighing every factor involved in a case, including the evidence presented to our office by police, the defendant’s state of mind, input from the victim, and possibly other circumstances. 

Accountability is a critically important part of our job too. From seeking approval for a warrant from a judge all the way through case preparation, trial, and sentencing, there are safeguards in place to ensure the highest quality of justice. This means careful review of warrant applications by an on-call 24/7 prosecutor before a detective seeks judicial approval for an arrest; case preparation review by one of our supervisors as the trial date approaches; and sentence recommendation review by a committee that includes the District Attorney, First Assistant District Attorneys, and one of our unit supervisors.


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