R. Seth Williams

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Seth Williams
24th District Attorney of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 4, 2010
Preceded byLynne Abraham
Personal details
BornJanuary 2, 1967
NationalityAmerican
Political partyDemocratic
ResidencePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma materGeorgetown University Law Center
Pennsylvania State University
OccupationLawyer
ReligionRoman Catholic
WebsiteOffice of the District Attorney of Philadelphia
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchArmy Reserve
RankMajor
 
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Seth Williams
24th District Attorney of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 4, 2010
Preceded byLynne Abraham
Personal details
BornJanuary 2, 1967
NationalityAmerican
Political partyDemocratic
ResidencePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma materGeorgetown University Law Center
Pennsylvania State University
OccupationLawyer
ReligionRoman Catholic
WebsiteOffice of the District Attorney of Philadelphia
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchArmy Reserve
RankMajor

Rufus Seth Williams (born January 2, 1967) is the District Attorney of the city of Philadelphia. He began his term January 4, 2010.[1] He formerly served as an Assistant District Attorney (ADA).[2] Williams is the first African-American District Attorney in Philadelphia and in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.[1]

Early life[edit]

Williams' mother gave him up for adoption after his birth. After placement in two foster homes he was adopted[3] and grew up in West Philadelphia, the only child of Rufus O. Williams (deceased), a teacher at Sulzberger Middle School, and his wife, Imelda, a secretary at the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard.[4]

He attended Friends Central Elementary School, Central High School and Penn State, where he served as President of the Penn State Student Black Caucus, the Undergraduate Student Government, and was member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. As a student activist, he led a 102 mile march to the state capital at Harrisburg to get Penn State to divest from South Africa. He was a parishioner of St. Carthage Roman Catholic Church (now known as St. Cyprian's), and was altar boy of the year at age 14 in 1981. He graduated from Georgetown University Law in 1992 with distinction as a Public Interest Law Scholar.[2]

Early career[edit]

After graduating from Georgetown, Williams joined the District Attorney’s Office. He served 10 years as an Assistant District Attorney. In that time, he was appointed Assistant Chief of the Municipal Court, where he supervised the 30 newest prosecutors. He also created and led the Repeat Offenders Unit with the goal of reducing the high percentage of crimes committed by repeat offenders. His courtroom experience includes 37 jury trials, more than 1,500 bench trials and more than 2,500 felony preliminary hearings.[4]

After leaving the District Attorney's Office, he joined Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy, P.C., working on cases involving civil litigation, personal injury, and nursing home abuse. In 2005, he challenged Lynne Abraham, Philadelphia's longtime incumbent District Attorney, in the Democratic primary, but lost with 46% of the vote. Following the election, he was appointed Inspector General of the City of Philadelphia, where he was responsible for investigating allegations of corruption, fraud, waste, abuse and employee misconduct among municipal workers and companies doing business with the city. He left in 2008 to take a position as counsel at Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, a Center City law firm.[4]

District Attorney[edit]

On November 3, 2009, Williams was elected District Attorney of Philadelphia. Winning more than 75% of the vote, he became the first African American District Attorney of Philadelphia, and in the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

In January 2011 Williams office brought multiple convictions through a grand jury against Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell primarily for killing infants after birth.[5]

He was sworn in January 4, 2010, succeeding Abraham. In 2011, Williams became "the first U.S. prosecutor to charge a church official for endangering children whom the Roman Catholic Church was supposed to protect by shuffling pedophile priests to different parishes where they could find fresh prey", as one commentator put it, in the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Philadelphia.[3]

Other[edit]

In 2010, he was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship. Eisenhower Fellowships is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization that fosters international understanding and leadership through the exchange of information, ideas, and perspectives among outstanding leaders throughout the world. He has also been selected for the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship Program for Public Leadership. This program is only open to 24 U.S. political leaders - 12 Democrats and 12 Republicans - deemed as "rising stars" in their communities. The two year fellowship is designed to briefly break down partisan barriers and provide officeholders with an opportunity to step back from their daily responsibilities to consider broader questions of good governance. In October 2011, he received an Alumni Fellow Award from Pennsylvania State University.[6]

Williams is an adjunct professor at Temple and Villanova Universities, as well as an Advisory Board Member at Penn State Abington. He is a Major in the JAG Corps, U.S. Army Reserve.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Williams lives in West Philadelphia with his wife and three daughters. He is a Roman Catholic who regularly attends mass at St. Cyprian Parish, where he was an altar boy while growing up.[7]

He is a strong supporter of gun control and restricted magazines. On It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle on January 14, 2013, he said, "Ma and Pa should not have a magazine with 30 rounds...," and that if you do not use a gun for hunting, you do not need one.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Miriam Hill (January 4, 2010). "Seth Williams becomes D.A., makes Philadelphia history". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 5, 2010. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b "About the D.A.". Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Dowd, Maureen, "Avenging Altar Boy", The New York Times, March 15, 2011 (March 16, 2011 p. A31 NY ed). Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  4. ^ a b c d "District Attorney Seth Williams Show". Retrieved February 4, 2010. 
  5. ^ Life Site News, April 18, 2013
  6. ^ http://news.psu.edu/story/154578/2011/10/11/penn-state-university-honors-alumni-fellows
  7. ^ Life Site News, April 18, 2013

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Lynne Abraham
District Attorney of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2010–Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent