This is a great plea deal for Seth Williams, not so great for the rest of us
I’m sure your phone is blowing up with alerts about now-former District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams deciding at 1 this morning to take a plea deal to one count of bribery, admitting to everything he did, and as of lunchtime right now he’s turned himself in and is being held at the Federal Detention Center at 6th and Market.
Seth Williams was facing nearly two dozen counts. By taking a plea deal for one count of bribery everything now hinges on what federal judge Paul Diamond does during sentencing. Nothing short of the maximum sentence possible is going to be acceptable to the public. It’s really easy to see why:
First, he’s the chief state law enforcement official in Philadelphia County. The DA decides whether or not police work is sufficient enough to bring a criminal case to trial. This places the District Attorney at one level above the Philadelphia Police Department in the “prestige” totem pole. The person who runs the DA’s office has to have a level of impeccable integrity. Anything less and the criminal justice system is damaged.
Seth Williams’ actions have caused extensive and systemic damage to Philadelphia’s criminal justice system. I know Democrat-loving journalists talked up his diversion programs when they were still loving him 2 years ago… but his integrity issues were well known to the chattering classes 4 years ago.
I knew about them five years ago. Assistant DAs working at the District Attorney’s Office knew about them before he won his first election. They knew a day like this was in store for Seth.
This also comes at a time when the criminal justice system is under intense scrutiny. Any sentence short of the maximum here is a strong signal to Black Lives Matter. Cops who corrupt their station get the wrist slap while you and me get the book.
Federal sentencing invariably turns every defendant about to be sentenced into a hypochondriac, as medical conditions factor in to how much confinement a criminal gets. You saw the cover of the 2015 fitness magazine that the Union League put out, Judge Diamond.
Seth Williams is in great shape for jail.
Send him away. We do not ever want to see this man ever again for the rest of our lives.