Philadelphia, October 27, 2010: District Attorney Seth Williams is pleased to announce that Community Prosecution in the City of Philadelphia will begin on November 1, 2010. Starting next Monday all preliminary hearings will be held at the Criminal Justice Center, with lower level misdemeanor charges being heard in the remaining 5 courts outside of Center City. Those courts are located at 55th and Pine, Broad and Champlost, Red Lion, 11th and Wharton and 3901 Whitaker Avenue. In addition, the Criminal Justice Center and the District Attorney’s Office will be realigned along geographic lines.
With Community Prosecution groups of Assistant District Attorneys are assigned geographically to bureaus that are responsible for a particular area or district of the city, just like police officers are now assigned. These new bureaus are East Division, South Division, Northeast Division, Northwest Division, Southwest Division, and Central Division. Criminal cases will now be held on floors according to their division at the CJC. That way the Assistant District Attorneys, Philadelphia Police officers and detectives, witnesses and victims will all be in the same place eliminating unnecessary court delays that now happen with preliminary hearings being heard all over the city.
Community Prosecution will also build the necessary ties to the community that the District Attorney believes are essential to lowering the crime rate in Philadelphia. With Community Prosecution the assigned groups of Assistant District Attorneys get to know the community in their districts. The A.D.A.s can then work with law enforcement, residents, local officials and others to develop and implement crime reduction and crime prevention strategies. These strategies will be tailored to each community to address the issues that are of the greatest concern to its residents.
“Community Prosecution is an initiative that I know will work and will be very successful here in Philadelphia,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “By changing how we prosecute cases we are giving all Philadelphians the opportunity to help us fight crime. This is a chance for residents to empower themselves to make Philadelphia a safer place to live.”