Meet the city’s new chief of justice

Some first week for Seth Williams. Philadelphia’s newest top prosecutor began the week by being sworn in, then going before a judge on Wednesday to handle preliminary hearings, and will wrap it up by heading to Fort Dix, N.J., for weekend Army Reserve duty.

Q: What was the purpose of you doing preliminary hearings Wednesday?

A: I want all of my supervisors to know that they are prosecutors first and that it’s all hands on deck and anybody who think they’re just going to sit in their office and have coffee and bon bons, they can go look for employment elsewhere. Everybody’s going to be going to work, everybody’s going be helping victims and going to court, or whatever their unit does.

Q: Did you learn anything from doing the preliminary hearings?

A: Me going to 55th and Pine, I get to see the files just like the young [assistant district attorneys] do. I [got] some of these cases that [were] just messed up cases where I see this shouldn’t even be in the system or we should have done this better…I saw lots of things that remind me and show me how the system is broken.

Q: Is there a sense of complacency in the DA’s office you need to change?

A: I think in many ways one of my biggest opponents is people that have been here for a long, long time and think ‘This is how things have always been done.’ That’s a reality. I think a lot of the younger people don’t think that way; they’re open to change.

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