By Michele Hanisee
In the past election cycle, we commented on candidates running for district attorney whose campaign promises involved ignoring criminal statutes they disagreed with and minimizing punishment of those who violate the law. Fortunately, in California, those efforts were soundly rejected by voters.
Not so in Philadelphia. In 2018, a defense attorney was elected District Attorney promising to protect criminals at the expense of victims. Not surprisingly, that has led to results like a recent case where a gunman who shot and nearly killed a store owner, Mike Poeng, was given a plea bargain of 3 ½-10 years of imprisonment. To add insult to injury, the Philadelphia district attorneys office illegally failed to notify the victim of the plea deal.
The US Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has stepped in to seek justice, filing federal charges against the defendant. The US Attorney did not stop there. Instead, in a stinging four-page statement delivered at a news conference, the US Attorney said, “The District Attorney calls himself ‘a public defender with power.’ That is not his job. He’s not supposed to be a public defender, advocating for defendants. He’s supposed to be a prosecutor, advocating for victims and protecting the community. I can assure you this: the prosecutors of my Office, working with our federal and state law enforcement partners, as well as with the Philadelphia police, will do everything in our power to keep the City safe.”
The transcript of the US Attorney’s remarks speaks for itself, read it for yourself here.
Michele Hanisee is President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, the collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.