“Don’t forget, they’re pretty good lawyers,” said a reporter to ADAs Joanne Pescatore and Christine Wechsler a few minutes after interviewing Jack McMahon.
“Well, we think we’re pretty good lawyers,” replied Pescatore. “I’ve tried plenty of cases against Jack McMahon and he is a very good attorney,” she said. “And he used to be a district attorney. We’re not afraid.”
Some of McMahon’s better-known clients include Arturo Juarez, alleged leader of the Latin King gang and Rich Wise, one of the two men accused in the 1995 murder of Kimberly Ernst, known in the press as the Center City Jogger case. McMahon is a busy guy: on top of taking on the Gosnell case, he’s currently representing Gerald Ung, the former Temple Law student arrested in 2010 on suspicion of attempting to kill Ed DiDonato in an Old City shoot-out captured by Fox29 cameras.
In 1997, McMahon unsuccessfully challenged former D.A. Lynne Abraham for District Attorney. It was shortly after he announced his candidacy that controversial instructional videos that taught lawyers questionable techniques for gaming voir dire—the crucial process of selecting jurors—came to light.
“The blacks from the low-income areas are less likely to convict,” McMahon said in the video. “I understand it. It’s an understandable proposition. There’s a resentment for law enforcement. There’s a resentment for authority. And as a result, you don’t want those people on your jury.”
The tape led to McMahon being called a racist.
“In selecting blacks, you don’t want the real educated ones. This goes across the board. All races. You don’t want smart people. If you’re sitting down and you’re going to take blacks, you want older black men and women, particularly men. Older black men are very good.”
In April 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors could not legally strike blacks from juries on the basis of race.
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