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Agency Information

District Attorney, Office of the

[Record group 6]
Agency home page.
Agency Function
The Office of the District Attorney of the City and County of Philadelphia prosecutes trial and appellate-level litigation of all criminal and some ancillary civil matters that arise within its jurisdiction. Together with the Police Department and the Courts, it represents one facet of Philadelphia's criminal justice system. The District Attorney represents the citizenry of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in criminal proceedings throughout the Philadelphia and Commonwealth court systems.

Administrative Subunits
Trials Division
This division, the largest division of the District Attorney's Office, consists of the Municipal Court Unit, Major Trials Unit, Felony Waiver Unit, Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit, Charging Unit, Pre-Trial Unit and the Homicide Unit.
Investigation Division
This division investigates complaints made directly to the District Attorney and initiates inquiries into areas that raise suspicion of criminal offenses. These inquiries may involve the use of an investigating grand jury. The division includes the Economic Crimes Unit, the Special Investigations Unit, the Insurance Fraud Unite and the Government Fraud Unit.
Law Division
The Law Division consists of the Appeals Unit, which handles federal and state court appellate cases; the Legislation Unit, which drafts and promotes statutes to improve the criminal justice system; the Post-Conviction Relief Act Unit, which handles Post-Conviction Relief Act petitions filed by convicted defendants; and the Civil Litigation Unit, which handles civil law matters for the Office.
Juvenile Division
The Juvenile Division is composed of the Juvenile Court Unit, which prosecutes juvenile delinquency cases, the Juvenile Habitual Offender Unit and the Child Support Enforcement Unit, which establishes paternity and enforces child support orders.
Narcotics Division
The Narcotics Division consists of the LINE Unit, which vertically prosecutes narcotics cases in selected police districts, the Dangerous Drug Offender Unit, the Drug Asset Forfeiture Unit, the FAST Unit (Federal Alternative to State Trials) and the Public Nuisance Task Force.

Agency History
Prior to 1850, the functions of this office were performed by a deputy State Attorney-General. An Act of 3 May 1850 created the elective post of District Attorney in every county of the state with a term of three years. The term was extended to four years under the State Constitution of 1874. In 1873, the District Attorney was empowered to appoint detectives distinct from those of the Police Department to aid his investigations. The powers and functions of the District Attorney have passed virtually unchanged through the various reorganizations of the City and County government from the date of its creation to the present.

Archival Records
6.1 Annual Reports (1926, 1927, 1952-1961, 1963-1971, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1983)

6.2 Reports & Publications (1913, 1964, 1968)

6.3 Scrapbooks (June - November 1901, January 1902 - April 1903)

Current Records
In general, because of the privileged nature of these records, they are not open for public access.


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Last updated on November 8, 2000