District Attorney Seth Williams didn’t waste any time trying to separate himself from his predecessor Lynne Abraham, announcing two major changes yesterday that experts say are long overdue.
In his first full day in office, Williams appointed a new head of the office’s charging unit, which decides whether to charge defendants. Longtime prosecutor Jodi Lobel will serve as chief and work with other veteran prosecutors to reduce the number of flimsy cases that are charged. In 2008, almost 6 out of 10 felony cases were dropped by the office because they were unprepared.
“It should have been done a long time ago and Seth Williams needs to be commended for such an idea and the previous DA needs to be condemned for not coming up with this idea,” said defense attorney Michael Coard. “You need an experienced trial lawyer in the charging unit to be able to screen out or weed through these charges.