Promising a “period of restoration” for prosecutors and staff, Kelley Hodge was sworn in as District Attorney of Philadelphia Monday to replace Seth Williams, who’s now in prison after pleading guilty in a corruption case.
Hodge will serve a little over five months until a new elected DA takes office.
After being sworn in at a city hall ceremony, Hodge acknowledged the strain Williams’ scandal has put on staff of the DA’s office.
She said her tenure will be “our opportunity to look at adversity from the rearview mirror and know you have weathered the storm.”
“Now, you can look in front of you and do what you have been tasked to do as district attorneys with your head held high,” she said.
She also said her selection by the city court’s Board of Judges Thursday marks a milestone in the city’s history.
“It is a profound honor to stand before you as District Attorney of Philadelphia,” Hodge said, “and the honor is only elevated as I also stand before you as the first African-American female District Attorney for the City of Philadelphia.”
The statement brought robust cheers from the packed room of friends, family and officials of the DA’s office and court system.
Hodge was a public defender in Virginia before coming to Philadelphia in 2004, where she spent eight years as a prosecutor in the DA’s office. She was later appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett to be the Safe Schools Advocate for the Philadelphia School District, and worked a special Title IX Coordinator at the University of Virginia. Before her selection as interim DA, she was an attorney at the Elliott Greenleaf law firm.
Larry Krasner, the Democratic candidate for District Attorney attended Hodge’s swearing in.
I asked about stories circulating in the legal community that he’d supported Hodge in the selection process and was interested in her for a senior staff position, if he’s elected in November.Krasner said he wouldn’t make any staffing decisions before November, and that he’d stayed out of the selection process.
“I made it very clear from the beginning of the process that I would not endorse anyone,” said Krasner, who didn’t want to politicize the process.
Krasner said he’d attended Hodge’s swearing-in “to congratulate her and to wish her well.”
Krasner will face Republican Beth Grossman in the November election.