Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has appointed former Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Carolyn Engel Temin as his first assistant.
The DA’s Office made the announcement Thursday morning in a statement outlining Krasner’s choices to fill top roles within the office, including unit heads and task force leaders. Although some of those appointed come from outside the office, most are longtime prosecutors from within the local ranks.
Temin, who was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1963, has had a long and notable career in the Philadelphia criminal justice world. She began her career as the first staff attorney to be hired at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, and later became an assistant district attorney. She was elected to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in 1983, and eventually became the chief criminal calendar judge. She was also the first woman to be elected president of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges in 1992.
Ben Waxman, spokesman for the office, said the appointments will help Krasner implement his vision for the office.
“We’re excited to have a really deep bench in the office of talent that is going to help, along with some new hires here locally and around the country, so that together we’re all going to be a ship sailing in the same direction,” he said.
The majority of appointees who are new to the office are serving under Arun Prabhakaran, who was recently selected as Krasner’s chief of staff. Those people include Jeff Lindy, who was chosen as the interim supervisor of training and development; Leigh Owens, who was named interim supervisor of community engagement; and Keith Daviston, who was appointed as chief financial officer.
Most of the attorneys assigned to oversee the prosecution units come from within the office. Drew Jenemann, who has been a prosecutor in Philadelphia since 2002, was named the interim supervisor of the forfeiture unit. Homicide prosecutor Jude Conroy was named interim supervisor of the Gun Violence Task Force, although, he is also expected to continue prosecuting homicide cases.
Michael Cram was named the office’s staff inspector of county detectives, a role he was appointed to in April, and Sybil Murphy was selected to head special investigations.
Krasner also named Jan McDermott as the interim supervisor of the trial division and Angel Flores as interim supervisor of the Municipal Court unit.
Although all of the appointments have been named “interim supervisors,” Krasner has said previously that there is no specific end-date for their leadership tenure. Rather, he plans to structure the office so that leadership positions are not presumed to be permanent, but that supervisors will be regularly evaluated by their subordinates.
The criminal bar appeared to be very supportive of Temin’s selection as first assistant.
Defense attorney Ted Simon, who was a part of Krasner’s transition team, lauded the choice.
“It is hard to think of someone in the legal community and particularly in the Philadelphia criminal justice community who possesses the breadth of experience, vast knowledge, unquestioned integrity and respect of the bench and bar,” he said.
The announcement comes after a tumultuous few days for the office, where 31 prosecutors were asked to leave and new leadership has been announced incrementally.
The shakeup caused some disruptions on Monday, and, according to some attorneys at the Criminal Justice Center on Thursday, the changes have had some lasting impacts.
One defense attorney at the CJC, who declined to be named, said some of the ADAs appeared to be overworked in the wake of the shakeup.
“They’re a little overworked. I haven’t see anyone pulling their hair out, but they’ll probably be overworked until they fill those positions,” the attorney said.
Other attorneys also said they also felt there was a lack of transparency regarding the transition process so far, but many also said they did not see any significant changes as a result of the shakeup.
“Y2K has come and gone,” another defense attorney, who also declined to be named, joked outside a courtroom. “There were no major disruptions. It seems to me the other attorneys in the DA’s office have stepped up to handle the caseload.”
Reactions at the CJC on Thursday were largely positive regarding the appointments, particularly when it came to the selection for Temin as first assistant. On several occasions attorneys broke the news to one another in the halls sounding pleasantly surprised.
Defense attorney Leon Goodman of the Goodman Law Group, who spent more than a decade in the prosecutor’s office, said Temin was an “extremely fair” judge and a great choice for the position.
“She was one of the most learned judges on the bench,” he said. “I have to admit, I learned nuances in the law from her that I did not know, and I’d been practicing for 13 to 14 years. She brings a wealth of experience from all sides.”