New Centralized Prosecution in Philadelphia

This fall, the criminal justice system in Philadelphia is receiving an overhaul that will centralize prosecution at the downtown Criminal Justice Center.  The Criminal Justice Center, or the CJC as it is more often referred to, sits catty-corner to City Hall at the corner of 13th and Filbert Streets.  This reorganization was spurred by District Attorney Seth Williams’s plan to convert Philadelphia to a vertical prosecution scheme.

The biggest change coming in November, 2010 is that preliminary hearings for felony charges will no longer be held at police districts around the city.  Prior to this change, the first formal court proceeding against a defendant charged with a felony occurred in the roll call room in one of a number of police districts.  DA Williams believes centralizing these preliminary hearings downtown will prevent scheduling conflicts for police officers by dedicating a separate floor to each detective division.  For example, this new plan means that if a Northeast Detective is needed as a witness in a homicide case and as a witness in a gun possession prelim on the same day, the detective will simply have to walk from Courtroom 1003 to Courtroom 1007.  Under the current plan, that detective would have to either drive from one case to the other or be marked unavailable for one.  This reorganization will also facilitate DA Williams’s plan to limit the number of times any particular case changes hands in the district attorney’s office by pursuing a vertical prosecution scheme.  For more information on what vertical prosecution is check out this pamphlet prepared by Seth Williams during his recent campaign.  For more information on criminal defense in Philadelphia or the surrounding counties, check out our website.

Listed below are the new room assignments by floor.

11th Floor:

Room 1101 Majors FVSA with Judge Cohen;

Room 1102 Homicide with Judge Temin;

Room 1103 AVOPP/ NSJ with Brown;

Room 1104 Gun Court Judge Patrick;

Room 1105 SMART Room/ DFJ Judge Lerner;

Room 1106 CP Video Courtroom;

Room 1107 Homicide with Judge DeFino-Nastasi;

Room 1108 Arraignments

10th Floor:

Room 1001 Majors FVSA with Judge Mazzola;

Room 1002 Majors with Judge Trent;

Room 1003 Hybrid MC Prelims and Trials;

Room 1004 Waiver Trials with Judge Gordon;

Room 1005 SMART ROOM Discovery Judge Ransom;

Room 1006 MC Drug & DUI Treatment Courts; DFJ;

Room 1007 Homicide with Judge Minehart;

Room 1008 Majors with  Judge Wogan

All cases with the Northeast Detective Division will occur on the 10th Floor

9th Floor:

Room 901 Majors FVSA with Judge Carpenter;

Room 902 Majors with Judge Robinson;

Room 903 Hybrid MC Prelims and Trials;

Room 904 Waiver Trials with Judge Anders;

Room 905 SMART ROOM/ FVSA with Judge Kane;

Room 906 MC Domestic;

Room 907 Homicide with Judge Hughes;

Room 908 Majors with Judge Hill

All cases with the Central Detective Division will occur on the 9th Floor

8th Floor:

Room 801 Majors with Judge O’Grady;

Room 802 Majors with Judge Byrd;

Room 803 ARD; MC Trials;

Room 804 Waiver Trials with Judge Covington;

Room 805 SMART ROOM/PCRA with Judge Dempsey;

Room 806 Hybrid MC Prelim, Trials and Project Dawn;

Room 807 Homicide with Judge Bright; 808 Major with Judge Rau

All cases with the Northwest Detective Division will occur on the 8th Floor

7th Floor:

Room 701 Major with Judge Ceisler;

Room 702 Majors with  Judge Djerassi;

Room 703 MC Trials;

Room 704 Waiver Trials with Judge Coleman;

Room 705 SMART ROOM/IP with Judge Means;

Room 706 MC Prelims;

Room 707 Homicide with Judge Geroff;

Room 708 Major with Judge Rogers

All cases with the Southwest Detective Division will occur on the 7th Floor

6th Floor:

Room 601 Majors with Judge Berry;

Room 602 Major with Judge Bronson;

Room 603 MC Trials;

Room 604 Waiver Trials with Judge Beloff;

Room 605 SMART ROOM with Judge Shreeves-Johns;

Room 606 MC Prelims;

Room 607 Homicide with Judge Robins-New;

Room 608 Major with Judge Schulman

All cases with the East Detective Division will occur on the 6th Floor

5th Floor:

Room 501 Major Trials with Judge Cunningham;

Room 502 Major FVSA with Judge Brinkley;

Room 503 Hybrid MC Prelims, Trials and FVSA;

Room 504 Motions with Judge Palumbo;

Room 505 SMART ROOM FJDMHC with Judge Woods-Skipper;

Room 506 MC DUI Trials;

Room 507 Homicide with Judge Sarmina;

Room 508 Waiver/Majors with Judge Erdos

All cases with the South Detective Division will occur on the 5th Floor

4th Floor:

Room 403 MC Court Video Courtroom and 455;

Room 404 MC Pre-Trial Status, SAM and SDP;

Room 405 MC Bench Warrant Hearings;

Room 406 MC Protracted, Mental Health Court and Veteran’s Court;

Room 408 Private Criminal Complaints

3rd Floor:

Room 304 Shared MC and CP Ceremonial Courtrooms;

Room 305 Shared MC and CP Ceremonial Courtrooms;

Room 306 MC/Homicide Preliminary Hearings

Felony Waiver Unit Courtrooms are 508, 604, 704, 804, 904 and 1104.

Majors Unit Courtrooms are 501, 508, 601, 602, 608, 701, 702, 708, 801, 802, 808, 901, 902, 908, 1001, 1002, and 1008.

Gun Court is 1104.

Homicide courtrooms are 507, 607, 707, 807, 907, 1007, 1102 and 1107.

SMART Courtrooms (Strategic Management ARC Readiness Trial) are 505, 605, 705, 805, 905, 1005 and 1105.


The Hybrid Rooms are 503, 803, 806, 903, and 1003.

Preliminary hearing rooms are 606 and 706.

Trial rooms are 603 and 703.

Program Courtrooms are as follows:

Room 1006- Drug & DUI Treatment Courts; DFJ

Room 906- Domestic violence

Room 806- Project Dawn

Room 803- ARD

Room 506- DUI Trials

Room 503- FVSA

Room 408- Private Criminal Complaints

Room 406- Veteran’s Court, Mental health Court, Protracted

Room 405- MC Bench Warrant Hearings

Room 404-Pretial, SM, SDP

Room 403-Video Courtroom and 455 Program

Room 306-Homicide


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