Friday, October 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

LIVEBLOG: DA Debate

8:20 -- And we're at closing remarks. Whew. Quite a night.

LIVEBLOG: DA Debate

8:20 -- And we're at closing remarks. Whew. Quite a night.

8:15 -- A question on police corruption allows McCaffery, McElhatton and Turner to mention they have or had family members on the force.

8:05 -- Dave notes the impact of city budget cuts on programs for young people and re-entry services. He asks what the city can do for those who need support.

Williams calls the budget cuts to the DA's office "offensive." “I hope we will be able to negotiate so a cut won’t be as severe and drastic as it is.” Grady says not everyone needs those programs. "Not everyone knucklehead who commits a crime is a drug addict or alcoholic. Some of them are just knuckleheads.”

7:55 -- McCaffery is trying to link himself to Lynne Abraham, who is known to publicly attack judges who pass down sentences to criminals if she diappoves. McCaffery spoke of tracking the sentences given out by judge and commenting on them when the judges come up for re-election.

7:45 -- To a question about political skills, both McCaffery and Williams list their various endorsements, while McElhatton talks about his relationship with Mayor Nutter.

7:41 -- Dave asks about political relationships of the DA. He asks if the candidates will pledge not to campaign for other candidates if elected. Untermeyer and Turner specifically say they will not campaign for others. Williams and McCaffery instead used it as a chance to cite their various endorsements. McElhatton took the chance to rattle off the various public positions he has held, including a seat on City Council.

7:35 -- Grady cited Ed Rendell's time as DA as a reason why the city is the only county in Pennsylvania where the DA and not police file the charges. Rendell, he said, took the power from the police. And now assistant DAs look at the charging assigment as a bad assignment.

“We do it because we took it from the police. And we’ve screwed it up.”

7:33 -- Grady references the punch incident again, jokingly asking if anyone wants to go outside.

7:31 -- Our favorite exchange of the night so far during a question on plea bargaining, in which Dave notes that he dealt with this when his car was stolen. Williams: "I remember when your car was stolen. It was between 1998 and 2000 and I was with you at court." Dave: "It’s a small town."

7:20 -- Pretty lame quote from Seth Williams on  campaign finance irregularities. "I'm not running for City Controller. I'm running for District Attorney." That was followed by a line from McCaffery about a judge's ruling -- later overturned -- kicking Williams off the ballot due to an suit from McCaffery. “Frankly Judge Tereshko did me no favors by kicking him off the ballot.”

7:18 -- Ooh, this is a good one. Dave asks Grady about a decade old incident when he had a physical confrontation in a judge’s chambers, which cost him his law license for a time.

“I punched the other attorney out, I punched him out and sent him to the hospital,” he said. “It was 13 years ago, it hasn’t happened since."

7:14 -- This is why the debate should have been aired on actual television and not just livestreamed. We're not sure if it's our internet, or some outside factor, but it keeps freezing up and stalling. Awesome.

7:12 -- Williams makes sure the audience knows about his FOP endorsement.

7:03 -- Davies kicks it off, asking all candidates to ask how the DA's office will be different after they've been in office for a year. McCaffery wants to improve the juvenile justice system, calling it the "red headed stepchild" of the system. McElhatton wants to amp up the fight against gun violence. Untermeyer says he will have "zero tolerance on illegal handguns." Taking a different tack, Turner says he plans to go after municipal corruption. Grady says we will all feel safer under his watch. And Williams says he will make sure victims and defendents receive justice.

7:00 -- Moderator, the DN's Dave Davies, introduces the candidates. As a refresher, we've got Democrats Brian Grady, Dan McCaffery, Dan McElhatton, Michael Turner, and Seth Williams and Republican Michael Untermeyer. That's a long list...we're having flashbacks to the Democratic primary debates.

The District Attorney candidate debate is set to kick off in minutes. Check back here -- and refresh your browser -- for the PhillyClout liveblog.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
 Follow Jenny on Twitter.

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