Sigman Considering DA Run

During an intensive round of phone calls that I made two weeks ago about possible candidates vying to succeed Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, I wasn’t able to get a hold of Scott Sigman, who joined the Bochetto & Lentz firm in 2005 after working as an assistant district attorney.

Sigman, however, called last week to report that his voice mail went wonky and that he didn’t get my message until several days after I called him. Sigman confirmed that he is exploring his options regarding the city’s top prosecution post.

Sigman, 33, a Republican, said just as state Supreme Court Justice Ronald D. Castille became Philadelphia district attorney in 1985 as a Republican, that his election could provide party balance in a city dominated by Democrats.

“It’s important to have the chief law enforcement officer from the opposition party,” Sigman said. “It’s a system of checks and balances.”

Sigman said deploying community prosecution to fight Philadelphia’s crime rate would be his main theme in a district attorney bid.

“Having regional prosecutors that know their communities, that can actually engage their communities in the prosecutions, will help this no rat mentality,” Sigman said.

During his time with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, Sigman worked in the narcotic division, first as a law intern and then as prosecutor after his graduation from Temple University law school. As part of his duties, Sigman said he litigated quasi-civil forfeiture actions against nuisance bars and prosecuted a weapons of mass destruction case against a father-and-son drug gang that were found in the possession of weapons that authorities believed were planned for use against another gang. Sigman also was the “weed and seed prosecutor” for North Philadelphia, a federal program with the joint goal of the tough prosecution of drug dealers and the infusion of community programs into the neighborhoods in which drug dealing predominates.

Sigman said he liked being able to help people as a prosecutor, but he was frustrated that the volume of cases on his plate meant he was not always able to focus on the community prosecution aspect of his job.

According to several sources, other attorneys and judges circulating their names for a possible prosecutorial bid include:

  • John Delaney, the deputy district attorney in charge of the office’s trial division
  • Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni
  • Family Court Administrative Judge Kevin Dougherty
  •  Common Pleas Court President Judge C. Darnell Jones II
  • Daniel McCaffery, a shareholder and commercial litigator at Friedman Schuman
  • Applebaum Nemeroff & McCaffery in Elkins Park, a former assistant district
  • attorney and brother of Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery
  • Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Rayford Means
  • Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Leon W. Tucker
  • Michael L. Turner, a shareholder devoted exclusively to a products liability litigation practice at Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin and a former assistant district attorney
  • R. Seth Williams, of counsel at Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young and former Philadelphia inspector general and former candidate for Philadelphia district attorney.

The Legal previously reported last month that Abraham is considering quitting in order to run against Attorney General Tom Corbett, a Republican. Eleanor Dezzi of The Dezzi Group, a spokeswoman for Abraham on political issues, said two weeks ago that nothing  new has developed in Abraham’s decision-making.

If Abraham does step down early, the First Judicial District’s Board of Judges would decide her interim successor. Abraham, when a judge herself, was placed in the district attorney’s post after a vote by the FJD judges when Castille resigned as district attorney to run for mayor.

Sigman said he would explore if he could be the interim pick. He noted that Bucks County judges picked Michelle Henry, chief of major crimes for the Bucks County District Attorney’s office, and not a judge, to fill out the remainder of former Bucks County District Attorney Diane Gibbons’ term when Gibbons became a common pleas court judge.

— Amaris Elliott-Engel , staff reporter

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