08 January 2010

New Philly DA is less bloodthirsty than the last

On January 4, Seth Williams was sworn in as Philadelphia's first African-American district attorney.

He's the first new DA that the city has seen in almost two decades. And we've been ready for a change.

Williams's predecessor, Lynne Abraham, had earned the nickname "Queen of Death" because of the very high rate of death sentences that her office sought through the years.

Fortunately, Williams seems to see the death penalty as less of an imperative. In December, Williams told the Philadelphia Inquirer that his office would pursue the death penalty in fewer cases. "My overall philosophy is that we have to use the death penalty more judiciously, not just as a bargaining chip," he said.

While this is not as good as a full moratorium on death sentences would be, at least it will be an improvement. Hopefully.

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