Two veteran Philadelphia prosecutors were recently asked to resign, according to sources, one of whom was asked to leave after raising concerns about how the head of the homicide unit handled a high-profile exoneration.
Sources said longtime prosecutors Erin Boyle and Dawn Farrell were asked to leave the office Wednesday. Boyle was most recently an assistant supervisor in the homicide unit, while Farrell worked in the insurance fraud unit.
Neither Boyle nor Farrell returned a call seeking comment Thursday.
Several sources with close ties to the office said Boyle was a well-regarded prosecutor, but was asked to resign after she raised concerns about how the office handled a high-profile case that recently ended with the exoneration of Dontia Patterson. Specifically, the sources said Boyle was critical of the chief of the homicide unit, Anthony Voci, for signing off on a brief that was highly critical of how the case had previously been handled, and of making similar statements about the case in court.
The brief Voci signed said the case was “an egregious example of police and prosecutorial misconduct.” During a hearing regarding whether Patterson, who had been in jail 11 years, should receive a new trial, Voci described the case against him as “weak” and said “an abundance” of critical exculpatory evidence was withheld from his defense team.
According to sources, that characterization of how the case had previously been handled concerned some prosecutors.
Ben Waxman, spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, said nobody had been fired, but that two prosecutors were asked to resign. He declined to comment about the situation further, citing the office’s policy of not commenting on personnel matters.
Regarding the sources’ characterization that Boyle was fired after raising concerns with Voci about the Patterson case, Waxman said, ”We have no comment on anonymous sources gossiping on things.”
The changes come a few months after a wave of veteran prosecutors resigned from the office in the spring.
About 10 prosecutors decided to part ways with the office in late March. The departures included the former chief of the northwest bureau, a homicide prosecutor who recently won a conviction against a man who shot a city police officer, and an assistant chief at the office’s special investigations unit.
That homicide prosecutor had left the office after she was transferred to the charging unit. Her transfer happened after voicing disagreement with Voci about the office’s decision to drop a third-degree murder charge in a case she was handling.
The office has undergone significant personnel changes since District Attorney Larry Krasner took over at the start of the year. Krasner asked 31 attorneys to resign during his first week as the city’s top prosecutor. Some additional prosecutors have left to join the state Attorney General’s Office since then. In the meantime, Krasner brought in two first assistants to help lead the office, hired some additional prosecutors, and brought in new chiefs to head the units.