The Nov. 5 election date is steadily approaching, and a political battle has ensued between two graduates of Temple’s law school.
Republican candidate Joseph Bongiovanni III has announced that he will be challenging Democrat incumbent Lynne Abraham in the race for Philadelphia District Attorney.
Bongiovanni is currently an Associate Professor of Legal and Real Estate Studies with the Fox School of Business. He has a private practice, Bongiovanni and Berger, and serves as a panel member for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Discipline Board.
When asked about his primary motivations for running for District Attorney, Bongiovanni replied, “While I like the incumbent, she has a couple of views on criminal justice that I don’t share. Her desire to hold the record of trying to execute the greatest number of people in the world in particular upsets and annoys me.”
Bongiovanni stands in favor of the legality of the death penalty. He feels that its use should be reserved for cases in which “someone has done something so heinous that there’s no other alternative and not just rubber-stamp it every time you think you can get your name in the paper.”
Lynne Abraham has been the District Attorney of Philadelphia since 1991. Prior to this position, she served as a judge for the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, where she presided over homicide and felony trials.
In response to Bongiovanni’s claims, Abraham stated, “The death penalty is only administered under the statue of our legislature. The seriousness of the crime is considered, as well as aggravating circumstances.”
In Philadelphia, a District Attorney is responsible for the prosecution of roughly 70,000 cases annually. There are approximately 300 Assistant District Attorneys employed for the city.
Abraham received her bachelor’s degree from Temple University in 1962 and graduated from the Law School in 1965.
“A good DA should have some law enforcement experience,” said Sheila Hewitt, a former assistant district attorney.
Hewitt worked under the direction of Lynne Abraham from 1991 until 1995.
“They should have worked as a prosecutor, as well as an Assistant DA. You need this experience to provide direction for your staff,” said Hewitt.
Bongiovanni runs his campaign under the slogan, “A Balanced Approach to Criminal Justice.” He says that while he has experience trying criminal cases, he’s devoted the greater portion of his time to business-related work, where he became learned in the principles of cost-efficiency.
Within the Fox school of business, Bongiovanni brings this erudition to his students.
“It’s always been a funny thing,” Bongiovanni said. “You learn more than you teach, because the kids have such unbounded enthusiasm, and are convinced that they are going to accomplish so many very ambitious personal goals.”
Bongiovanni has assigned himself his own personal goal, the outcome of which remains untold until Philadelphia’s Election Day.