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City of Philadelphia

Law

The Law Division consists of five units, approximately 50-60 Assistant District Attorneys, and numerous support staff members. The Division is supervised by Deputy District Attorney Ronald Eisenberg, 215-686-5700, ronald.eisenberg@phila.gov

Appeals Unit

The Appeals Unit is the largest appellate litigation department in Pennsylvania, representing the Commonwealth at all levels of the appellate process. It handles over 1,000 criminal appeals and related matters annually in the Pennsylvania Superior Court, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, and Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The Unit also offers advice and legal support to other departments in the District Attorney’s Office, as well as other prosecutors’ offices throughout Pennsylvania.

The Chief of the Appeals Unit is Hugh Burns, 215-686-5730, hugh.burns@phila.gov.

Civil Litigation Unit

The Civil Litigation Unit represents the District Attorney’s Office and its employees in civil rights and other litigation in state and federal courts. This Unit also oversees disciplinary, unemployment compensation, labor and employment, and other disputes or investigations where the Office’s interests are implicated. The Unit’s attorneys work closely with City agencies and represent the Office’s employees at hearings, depositions, or witness interviews. The Unit also responds, and litigates if necessary, to subpoenas presented to the Office and Right-to-Know Law requests.  And finally, the Unit serves as Office’s legal advisor.

The Chief of the Civil Litigation Unit is Bryan Hughes, 215-686-5775, bryan.hughes@phila.gov.

Federal Litigation

The Federal Litigation Unit represents the Commonwealth in all federal habeas corpus litigation arising from cases prosecuted by the Office. Attorneys in this Unit are responsible for written pleadings, arguments, and evidentiary hearings in Federal District Court. They also handle all habeas appeals to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and to the United States Supreme Court.

The Chief of the Federal Litigation Unit is Susan Affronti, 215-686-5703, susan.affronti@phila.gov.

Legislation Unit

The Legislation Unit drafts and advocates for laws that promote public safety and ensure victims’ rights. The Unit assists the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association as legislative liaisons in Harrisburg, reviews legislative proposals in Harrisburg, and regularly consults with legislators and key staff to ensure that the views of prosecutors are heard. The Unit prepares testimony for prosecutors who testify at hearings on behalf of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, researches public safety related topics, and keeps elected district attorneys updated on bills throughout the legislative session. It also helps coordinate the Office's budget requests to Philadelphia’s Mayor and City Council, drafts budget-related testimony presented in City Council, and reviews public safety proposals by the Mayor and City Council.

The Chief of the Legislation Unit is Greg Rowe, 215-686-8712, greg.rowe@phila.gov.

PCRA Unit

The PCRA Unit handles all proceedings under Pennsylvania's Post-Conviction Relief Act, appearing before the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division. Attorneys in the Unit write legal briefs and conduct evidentiary hearings in all manner of cases, but primarily those involving serious felonies and homicide. The Unit responds to a variety of post-conviction issues, including but not limited to DNA testing requests and claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and after-discovered evidence.

The Chief of the PCRA Unit is Robin Godfrey, 215-686-9936, robin.godfrey@phila.gov.