Change-driven DA Krasner hires criminal justice lifer as top deputy

Larry Krasner, Philadelphia district attorney, takes questions from reporters after introducing some of his new top staffers during a news conference at the District Attorney's Office in Center City Philadelphia. Tuesday, January 9, 2018.

New Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner on Thursday named an 83-year-old former Common Pleas Court judge as his first assistant, filling a key role in his change-driven administration with a veteran of the city’s legal community.

Carolyn Engel Temin, who served three decades on the bench before retiring in 2012, spent most of the 1990s overseeing homicide proceedings at the Criminal Justice Center. She became a senior judge in 2006 and spent recent years working overseas on legal projects in countries that included Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and Honduras.

Her appointment was announced to the office Wednesday night, along with a number of other supervisory changes. Nearly all of the roles announced were considered “interim” – Krasner said earlier this week that he wanted to create a more flexible chain of command, where supervisors and employees may trade places more frequently than in years past.

The latest staffing announcement brings Krasner’s office reorganization into clearer view. He began the process last week by firing 31 people, later saying they “were not consistent with the mission” of the office he is seeking to build. Krasner has said he wants to reduce incarceration, eliminate use of the death penalty, and seek to end cash bail, among other goals.

Temin began her career as the city’s first female public defender and later served as an assistant district attorney. She was first elected to the bench in 1983.

Temin stepped down from the bench after hitting the mandatory judicial retirement age. She collects about $92,000 per year from her judicial pension, according to state records. (Her new annual salary is $120,000. )

In an interview Thursday, she said that her age is immaterial, and that she was excited to contribute to Krasner’s administration.

“My age, the age of the district attorney, is of no consequence,” she said. “The fact that we’re able to work together — that’s the important thing.”

Krasner said he selected Temin for her independence, intelligence and work ethic, and that her diversity of experiences in Philadelphia and overseas gives her a unique perspective that will benefit his leadership team.

Her “moral compass is exactly what this office requires,” Krasner said.

The rest of the supervisors Krasner appointed this week included a mix of existing employees – some of whom were transferred or promoted – as well as former employees who returned to the office and people who had never worked there before, according to an email announcing the decisions.