District Attorney of Philadelphia

The office of the District Attorney of Philadelphia is the largest prosecutor's office in the state of Pennsylvania and oversees a jurisdiction that includes more than 1.5 million citizens of both the city and county of Philadelphia.[1] The current District Attorney of Philadelphia is Larry Krasner. The district attorney represents the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City & County of Philadelphia in all criminal and other prosecutions.[2]

The district attorney is an elected office, and terms begin on the first Monday in January following the election.[2] Prior to 1850, the functions of this office were performed by a deputy state attorney-general. An Act of 3 May 1850 P.L. 654 authorized the voters of each of Pennsylvania's counties to elect one person, of requisite legal background to serve as district attorney for a term of three years.[2] The term was extended to four years under the State Constitution of 1874, Article 14.[2][3]

List of District Attorneys of Philadelphia

District AttorneyTermPolitical party
Horn R. Kneass1850–1851Republican
William B. Reed1851–1856Republican
William B. Mann1856–1868Republican (On November 3, 1856, Lewis C. Cassidy had been elected district attorney but his election was successfully contested by William B. Mann.)[2]
Furman Sheppard1868–1869Republican
Charles Gibbons1869–1870Republican (On November 2, 1868, Furman Shepard was duly elected and sworn-in as District Attorney, however, Mr. Gibbons contested the election and the court declared him the victor, in 1870 the court realized a tabulation error and reappointed Furmand.[2]
Furman Sheppard1870–1871Republican
William B. Mann1871–1875Republican
Furman Sheppard1875–1878Republican
Henry S. Hagert1878–1881Republican
George S. Graham1880–1899Republican (Elected Nov. 2, 1880, declined to be a candidate in 1899, later elected to the US House of Representatives in 1912)[4]
P. Frederick Rothermel1899–1902Republican
John Weaver1902–1903Republican (Elected in 1901 and left office after being elected Mayor of Philadelphia in 1903.)[5][6]
John C. Bell1903–1907Republican (Appointed in 1903 to fill term of John Weaver, reelected 1904, declined renomination)[6]
Samuel P. Rotan1906–1926Republican (First elected in 1906)[6]
Charles Edwin Fox1926–1928Republican (First Jewish DA in Philadelphia)[7][8]
John Monaghan1928–1931Republican[9][10]
Charles F. Kelley1931–1941Republican (died in office)[11][12]
John H. Maurer1941–1952Republican
Richardson DilworthJanuary 7, 1952 – January 2, 1956Democratic (elected Mayor of Philadelphia in 1955)[13]
Victor H. BlancJanuary 2, 1956 – January 8, 1962Democratic[14][15][16]
James C. Crumlish, Jr.January 8, 1962 – January 3, 1966Democratic (Appointed district attorney to finish out the four-year term of Victor Blanc, who had been named a judge, later a longtime Commonwealth Court Judge, himself.) [17][18]
Arlen SpecterJanuary 3, 1966 – January 7, 1974Republican (two four-year terms, lost his pursuit to a third term in 1973 general election.)[19]
F. Emmett FitzpatrickJanuary 7, 1974 – January 2, 1978Democratic (lost 1977 primary election to Ed Rendell)
Edward G. RendellJanuary 2, 1978 – January 6, 1986Democratic (elected to two four-year terms)
Ronald D. CastilleJanuary 6, 1986 – March 12, 1991Republican (elected two four-year terms, resigned his office for an unsuccessful campaign for Mayor of Philadelphia)
Lynne AbrahamMay 15, 1991 – January 4, 2010Democratic (succeeded Ron Castille; elected to four four-year terms)
Seth WilliamsJanuary 4, 2010 – June 29, 2017Democratic
Kelley B. HodgeJuly 24, 2017 – December 31, 2017Democratic (interim)
Larry KrasnerJanuary 1, 2018 – presentDemocratic (incumbent)[20]


  1. Phila.Gov | Office of the District Attorney : R. Seth Williams:
  2. John Hill Martin (1883). Martin's bench and bar of Philadelphia:together with other lists of persons appointed to administer the laws in the city and county of Philadelphia, and the province and commonwealth of Pennsylvania. R. Welsh & co. p. 87.
  3. District Attorney, Office of the: Agency Information
  4. GRAHAM, George Scott – Biographical Information:, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  5. "PHILADELPHIA'S MAYOR ENDS GAMBLERS' SWAY – New Executive Carries Out One Promised Reform. " Machine" Lets Him Name Director of Public Safety, but Continues Con- trol Over the Public Works" (PDF). New York Times. April 12, 1903. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  6. Hudson, Samuel (1909). Pennsylvania and Its Public Men. Pennsylvania State University. pp. 75, 81, 346.
  7. Philadelphia Bar Association Legends of the Bar
  8. "Charles Edwin Fox Elected District Attorney in Philadelphia". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 14 January 1926. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  9. "CORRUPTION: In Philadelphia". Time Magazine. October 8, 1928. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  10. "CORRUPTION: In Philadelphia". Time Magazine. September 17, 1928. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  11. "In Philadelphia". Indiana Evening Gazette. September 16, 1931. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  12. "District Attorney Dies in Car". The Titusville (PA.) Herald. October 3, 1941. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  13. , Richardson Dilworth papers (Collection 3112), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
  14. "The Press: Crusade in Philadelphia". Time Magazine. August 13, 1956. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  15. "Events & Discoveries:AUTUMN ACROSS THE LAND, PENNSYLVANIA GIVES MUGGSY TAYLOR THE GREEN LIGHT, BATTLE OF WALDEN, NEJI WINS AGAIN, THE ROARING ROAD IN YOUR LIVING ROOM, Vindication for Muggsy". Sports Illustrated. October 28, 1957. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  16. Weigley, Russell Frank; Edwin Wolf (1982). Philadelphia: a 300 year history. W.W. Norton. p. 660. ISBN 0-393-01610-2.
  17. "James C. Crumlish Jr. Judge, 72". New York Times. March 25, 1992. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  18. "Judge James C. Crumlish Jr., 71". Philadelphia Inquirer. March 18, 1992. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  19. Arlen Specter Biography – Facts, Birthday, Life Story – Biography.com:
  20. Chris Brennan & Aubrey Whelan, Larry Krasner wins race for Philly DA, Philadelphia Inquirer (November 7, 2017).
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