The Philadelphia Board of Judges has chosen attorney Kelley B. Hodge as the city’s interim district attorney.
Hodge, 45, will hold the office until a new DA is sworn in following the November election. She will finish the term of Seth Williams, who resigned last month after pleading guilty in the middle of his trial on federal corruption charges.
State law provides that a vacancy in the DA’s office is filled by the city’s Common Pleas Judges. After three ballots, the judges chose Hodge from a field that included former DA Lynne Abraham, and former DA candidate Joe Khan.
Hodge, who is the first African-American woman to serve as he city’s DA, acknowledged her selection as a historic moment.
“The fact that I am the first African American female to hold this position is just something that I will carry with me and, hopefully, execute in a way that I would for anything else, which is to make everyone proud,” said Hodge, who for eight years was an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia.
She recognized the challenge that awaits her in the office where prosecutors and staff have been working in the shadow of the Williams scandal.
“What has transpired as been an added burden,” she said, adding that she hopes to help “lift that burden and make it so that it’s about them focusing on the work.”
Hodge, now in private practice with the city law firm of Elliott Greenleaf, said she has maintained a steadfast interest in criminal law throughout her career.
Hodge attended the Univeristy of Richmond law school and served as public defender in Virginia before coming to Philadelphia, where she served eight years as a prosecutor in the DA’s office. She left in 2011.
After that she worked in the Pensylvania Commissiono on Crime and Deliquency, and was appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett as the Safe Schools Advocate for victims of crime and violence in the Philadelphia School District.
She sought the interim DA’s position, she said, because of her “deeply rooted commitment to the city of Philadelphia and my personal and professional belief that integrity, humility and fairness are critical tools in seeking justice.”
Democrat Larry Krasner and Republican Beth Grossman will face off in the Nov. 7 election for the four-year term leading the office.