Can Teresa Carr Deni Convince Voters to Look Past a Controversial Legal Case?

Teresa Carr Deni

Teresa Carr Deni | Photo courtesy of Tommie St. Hill

“Philly Judge Criticized for Rape Decision.” “Judge Criticized for Considering Gang Rape on Prostitute ‘Theft of Services.’” “Judge Who Thinks Rape is ‘Theft of Services’ Up for Retention in Philly.”

Those are some of the headlines that pop up when you Google Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni’s name. Back in 2007, the Democrat dismissed sexual assault charges against a man who allegedly raped a prostitute at gunpoint, which drew ire from local women’s groups. She let robbery charges stand, telling the Philadelphia Daily News at the time, “She consented and she didn’t get paid. I thought it was a robbery.” Now, Deni says the media “misconstrued” the case, and that “the situation was corrected, and everyone was pleased with the result.” Read more »

The D.A. Candidate Who at 13 Saw His Father Murdered in the Street

Rich Negrin

Richard Negrin | Photo courtesy of Mark Nevins

Richard Negrin knows the trauma of gun violence firsthand. When he was just 13 years old, his father was shot dead in front of him. “It’s not fun to talk about, but I talk about it because it gives me credibility with young people,” he says. “I stand in front of classrooms and say, ‘How many of you have been touched by violence in your immediate family?’ In a first-grade class last year, 80 percent of those kids raised their hand.”

That life-changing experience, Negrin says, is why he became an assistant district attorney years ago, prosecuting hate crimes and other felony cases. He’s against a “heavy-handed, authoritarian” District Attorney’s office, he says, and wants a “community-based model that cares about all of us.” He points to Philly Rising, an initiative aimed at fighting poverty and crime that he led while working as the city’s managing director, as an example of that approach. Negrin, who once sat on the local ethics board, is also positioning himself as the good-government candidate in the district attorney’s race. The Democrat has sworn off gifts and campaign contributions from defense attorneys who may stand across from him the courtroom. Some positions he’s taken — or refused to take — may frustrate some progressives. For instance, he won’t say for now whether he wants a super PAC to back him or if cash bail should be abolished for low-level, nonviolent offenders. Read more »

Meet the D.A. Candidate Who’s Defended Black Lives Matter and Occupy in Court

Larry Krasner 2

Larry Krasner | Photo courtesy of Krasner campaign

When Larry Krasner kicked off his campaign for district attorney in downtown Philadelphia in early February, more than a dozen political activists stood behind him. There were Black Lives Matter leaders, Occupy Philly alumni, and Arch Street United Methodist Church pastors, among others, almost all of whom Krasner has defended in court. “My biggest accomplishment has been to represent individuals,” he says, “as they faced the Goliath that government can be in order to make sure that they got fair trials and that their constitutional rights were preserved.”

In addition to working as a civil-rights attorney, Krasner has served as a city and federal public defender. A few years ago, he famously accused several narcotics officers of misconduct, and D.A. Seth Williams announced afterward that he would no longer call those cops as witnesses. If elected D.A., Krasner promises never to seek the death penalty, to work to eliminate cash bail, and to take other actions aimed at lowering the city’s sky-high incarceration rate. Read more »

OPINION: Crowded District Attorney Race Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

There is an adage that goes: “To speak without thinking is to shoot without aiming.”

Someone should have told that to former federal prosecutor Joe Khan during a event featuring district attorney candidates at Philly for Change on South Street earlier this month. I was there to get a personal glimpse at three-fifths of the field that was at that point running against Seth Williams for the role of top prosecutor. In attendance were former city managing director Richard Negrin, former Municipal Court judge Teresa Carr Deni, and Khan. (Not present were Democrat Michael Untermeyer and Republican Beth Grossman, and the event was held before civil rights attorney Larry Krasner threw his hat in.) Read more »

Did Seth Williams’s Top Assistant Resign to Run for D.A.?

Seth:Tariq

Tariq Karim El-Shabazz, a longtime defense attorney who became District Attorney Seth Williams’s first assistant district attorney late last summer, resigned on Monday. But it’s what could come next that has people talking: El-Shabazz may be running for the office himself.

Since Williams announced late last week that he would not seek reelection, El-Shabazz has been rumored as a possible candidate for D.A. City & State reported over the weekend that El-Shabazz was considering declaring for the race as early as this week. Read more »

The FOP Has Put Up Anti–Seth Williams Billboards

John McNesby and Seth Williams. | Photos by AP

John McNesby and Seth Williams. | Photos by AP

Telling the Inquirer his union was willing to spend an “unlimited amount of resources” in the Democratic primary against Seth Williams, FOP Lodge 5 head John McNesby has begun a campaign against the incumbent district attorney.

Yesterday, a billboard showed up on I-95 between Bridge Street and Cottman Avenue: “HELP WANTED: NEW PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY,” it read. “PLEASE CONTACT FOP LODGE #5.” McNesby says the FOP will put up at least six billboards calling for Williams’s ouster. Read more »

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