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Expand this issue to read more about A. Charles Peruto's views on criminal justice reform. (Read More)


Almost every family within the Philadelphia borders is affected by this disease. No one, including me, has the right answers to fix this problem, but as District Attorney, there are certain measures I propose.

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The problem with this issue is one of understanding.  Both Black and White people have legitimate arguments which is not the problem.  The problem is their inability to listen to each other.    

If we could have a normal exchange of ideas, with an open mind, we can settle more disputes than any can of tear gas or rubber bullets.   
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Larry Krasner has seen fit to go outside Philadelphia in almost every new Assistant District Attorney he has hired.  He believes that by hiring graduates from the likes of Yale and Harvard he is going to fix the problems of this City.  
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My position on this is simple.  Anyone who commits a crime against our citizens will be prosecuted. No one is above the law, and the general public must stop with the nonsense that they are for or against any group.

Every case has a different set of facts and circumstances.  They should be dealt with justly, taking into consideration all factors. The City of Philadelphia itself is a full partner, and shares in the blame of some of the bad shootings and treatment of our citizens.  Spending the money on payouts over civil suits, wherein it is often times multitudes more expensive than training and equipping our police is a disgrace.  For instance, when two officers are side by side as partners, shouldn’t one of them be able to shoot their taser in the appropriate situation before resorting to lethal force?  Obviously, our Philadelphia Police need to protect themselves from criminals.  But if there is a way from diffusing a situation short of the loss of life, then for God’s sake it should be employed!  The City of Philadelphia in hiring 911 operators has failed us.  This position requires substantial education in Psychology, knowledge of the neighborhoods, and training far beyond what is required of them now.  We must begin to change the culture of our Police Department starting at the Police Academy, on up the line.  However, no Police Officer will be prosecuted by me where I have to resort to second guessing and Monday morning quarterbacking for a decision they make.  If their decision is justified under the circumstances, they have no fear of prosecution.

We must have a seasoned Assistant District Attorney assigned to the Police Department, and the Mayor’s Office as a liaison, so that we can all work together in stemming our gun violence.  However, it is the opinion of this candidate, that our current Mayor is not equipped to run the Philadelphia Police Department, and therefore, no real progress will be made in this area until he is replaced.  His ordering the Police to stand down while police cars are being firebombed before their eyes, urine is thrown on them, they are spit on, etc., is unacceptable.  If the Police did police work on the first day of the George Floyd protests, we would not suffer the property damage we did that day, the second day, the third day or the fifteenth day.  Likewise, the decision in refusing to prosecute burglars who had nothing to do with a protest, because it occurred during a period of “civil unrest”, should be impeachable.  George Floyd’s memory is ill-served by refusing to prosecute looters and burglars.  All we do in these circumstances is drive business out of the City raising your property taxes because there will be less businesses to pay their share, and the money must come from somewhere. 

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This is a subject that can cause me to lose many votes but must be stated.  The public must understand that not every homicide warrants the death penalty.  However, there are cases that are so evil, death is the appropriate punishment and deterrent.  When a drug dealer kidnaps a rival, cutting off their limbs, then lighting them on fire, this is more than first degree murder which is planned and premeditated.  This is a case that cries out for the ultimate penalty.  Therefore, for the chief law enforcement officer for the County of Philadelphia to state that they will never seek the death penalty, they are not fit to hold that office.  On the other hand, the ultimate penalty should be used sparingly and justly.  Reasonable and elite homicide Prosecutors such as Jude Conroy, would be on my committee in deciding whether or not we should seek death.   


This is a tool that is drastically underused by the current administration.  Lay people have to understand that when a crime is witnessed, it is not their choice to come in and testify, it is their duty.  As such, if they want to play games with the Philadelphia Police Department and claim that they no longer recall what occurred, they will be subpoenaed to a Grand Jury to testify.  If they plead the Fifth Amendment, they will be given immunity in cases where they are not criminally responsible for the alleged conduct, so they will be forced to testify.  If a Judge has to punish them for refusing to say what they know, that is a small price to pay to end this gun violence we are experiencing.    

Any person who is accused of threatening, bribing, or interfering in any way with a Commonwealth witness to a crime, will be brought before one of these tough Judges to have their bail set.  It will be our firm position that no person accused of witness intimidation will be given bail of less than $1,000,000 cash.  Our witnesses must and will be protected.  Similarly, any person accused of retaliating against a witness after testifying will be assigned to one of these same courtrooms. Punishments imposed in these cases will be well publicized.   

Furthermore, if any person claims they don’t know anything about a crime, and it can be proven they are lying, they too will be prosecuted in these courtrooms.  This may be unfortunate for someone who did not set out to commit a crime, but even more unfortunate is what every citizen in Philadelphia is experiencing with this gun violence.  What must be will be.  The Grand Jury is a tremendous tool to bring witnesses forward in all of these situations, and there as well, an elite team of present and former Prosecutors will be assigned.   


People who are here unlawfully, and without papers, will be left alone.  This problem is not one for the City of Philadelphia but must be handled on a national level.  I do not intend to use our manpower or tax dollars to search them out, or even bother them in any way, if they are not bothering us!  

However, when an illegal alien commits certain enumerated offenses against our public, such as rape, robbery, burglary, or God forbid murder, extremely high bail will be sought, in an ort to protect the public.  We will also notify I.C.E. to drop a detainer on them holding them even if they post bail.  

If convicted of any of these crimes, or certain related offenses, the police and District Attorney’s Office will be directed to report that to I.C.E. as well.

If the Mayor issues an order to the Police Department, which he basically controls, forbidding them from doing this, that is Obstruction of Justice.  These people are here illegally, praying upon our society, and Federal law mandates they be deported.  Any Mayoral order to the contrary, violates the law and a Grand Jury will be convened, to see whether or not the Mayor is in violation of any statute. If so, he will stand trial for Obstruction of Justice and related offenses. While this measure may seem harsh, it is needed to protect the public, and that is what an elected District Attorney is supposed to do! 


Any candidate who wants criminal justice reform don’t speak of the topics that I will touch on, because they are not really listening...

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Many crimes committed against our citizens under the Krasner Administration don’t even get prosecuted.  The puncturing of automobile tires, the smashing of car windows in order to steal a radio or personal belongings within the car, graffiti, vandalism, etc. will, in fact, be prosecuted.  

In order for the victim not be harmed twice, we will not require them to go into Center City or pay to park as parking is enough to sway a witness from coming to court.    

These types of quality of life crimes, will be heard at the police station closest to the incident, with an intended partnership with our Philadelphia Municipal Court.  However, please keep in mind that the overwhelming goal of my administration will be to curb gun violence.  If prosecution in quality of life crimes have to suffer, we must all understand the sacrifices to be made.  


Almost all politicians and the media seem to deal with black and white issues while the
Hispanic, Russian and Asian communities are forgotten.
Having represented hundreds of Hispanic defendants over my career, I have learned a
great deal how their families, communities, religion, and politics operate. They, most of all
groups, feel left out and unrepresented.

When these position papers are released, note how many Hispanic prosecutors we have in
the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. I am sure Larry Krasner will do his best to fix that number, now that this problem has been pointed out. They are and have always been under-
represented in the District Attorney’s Office, which will change immediately if I am elected.

Likewise, with the Russian and Asian communities, everything said about the Hispanics
can be said about the Russians and Asians who have been under-represented while the
population in this county is significant. The Asian community, in particular, seem to be targeted
for many scam type crimes, which go ignored because of their language barrier.
Our District Attorney’s office needs to give 10x more attention to these two different
groups, as this City is not just black and white.


Except where it affects gun violence, and corrupting our children, possession of marijuana will not be prosecuted.  However, if you want to smoke marijuana on your stoop across the street from a city playground or school, then you will be dealt with accordingly.  That punishment will not be a $75 fine, as it is now being enforced, it will be prosecuted and if you don’t go to jail for doing that then you’re lucky.  If you want to smoke it in your own home and play video games, there is not much I will or should do about it.   

Peruto For DA
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