About John


Pennsylvania’s most senior elected district attorney with 25 years  experience as a state prosecutor; experienced courtroom prosecutor who  has personally tried to verdict 25 First Degree Murder cases including a  conviction in a case in which the body of the victim was never located;  argued First Degree Murder cases in both the state and federal  appellate courts; testified numerous times before State House and Senate  Committees as well as U.S. House of Representatives on criminal justice  issues including capital punishment, insanity defense, powers of the  judiciary, racial profiling, illegal immigration and violence issues;  often seen on national television – has appeared on 60 Minutes, “The  O’Reilly Factor”, “The Lou Dobbs Show”, Connie Chung Tonight, “Donahue”,  and the Nancy Grace Show. Cases prosecuted have been the subject of  documentary’s aired on HBO, A&E Network, America’s Most Wanted and  the Discovery Channel. Author of “The D-Day Bank Massacre: The True  Story Behind the Martin Appel case”, published by Sterling House  Publishing of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


  • Impanelled County’s First Sitting Grand Jury in 30 years to focus on public corruption and unsolved homicides
  • Established Mental Health Court to address  non-violent crimes committed by the mentally ill. The program assures  that mentally ill offenders who commit non-violent crimes get the help  they need and are not left trapped in the criminal justice system.
  • Created Cold Case Unit to track and investigate unsolved homicide cases.
  • Led the Fight to Study Racial Profiling in Pennsylvania 
  • Restructured Office of District Attorney by  creating specialized units to bring expertise to the prosecution of  criminal cases; created Sexual Assault Unit and Domestic Violence unit  to focus on crimes against children and women.
  • Established Nuisance Bar Program to eradicate nuisance bars in neighborhoods.

Professional Experience


  • District Attorney, Northampton County, Pennsylvania 1992-present;  Elected in 1991 with approximately 60% of vote in primary and general  elections; defeated 3-term incumbent District Attorney; reelected in  1995,1999, 2003, 2007, 2011,2015
  • President of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute  2002-2003; President of Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association  1999-2000; served as Vice-President and Secretary Treasurer of  Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and Member of the Executive  Board 1995-2003.
  • Instructor of Criminal Law Evidence and Constitutional Law,  part-time, Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 1982-1984;  2003-present.
  • Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania Attorney General, 2008.
  • Appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Committee on Capital Litigation, 2003.
  • Testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, Sub-committee on Immigration matters, 2003.
  • Appointed Special Deputy Attorney General 1996-1997 by Attorney  General investigating matters in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties.
  • Appointed to Attorney General’s Transition Team, 1996; served as  Chairman of Drug Law Committee and wrote final report of Committee.
  • Appointed by Governor Tom Ridge to Pennsylvania Commission on Crime  and Delinquency 1995; Chairman of Technology and Automation Committee  1996-1998.
  • Appointed by Governor Tom Ridge to Governor’s Transition Team 1995;  served on Governor’s Crime Task Force and Corrections, Probation and  Parole Task Force.
  • Represented Lehigh Valley at White House Briefing on President Clinton’s Crime Bill 1994.
  • Member, Pennsylvania Bar Association; Legislative and Governmental Affairs Committee 1994-1996.
  • Lecturer at Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Criminal Law Symposium 1999, 2001.
  • Solicitor to Bethlehem City Council 1986-1991.
  • Served as special counsel to City of Easton investigating alleged Ethics Act Violation 1989.
  • Assistant Public Defender, Northampton County 1982-1986.
  • Assistant City Solicitor, City of Bethlehem 1981-1982.
  • Served as Independent Special Counsel investigating alleged police misconduct, Moore Township, Pennsylvania.
  • Served as Solicitor of Northampton County Constables Association.
  • Trial attorney, private practice of law, civil and criminal practice 1980-1996.


  • Juris Doctor: May 1980, Villanova School of Law  
    • Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085
      • Class Rank: 31/196
      • Moot Court Board Member – Selection based on outstanding academic achievement at end of first year.
  • Bachelor of Arts, Political Science: May 1977  
    • Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018
      • Class rank: 5/305
      • Summa Cum Laude Graduate
      • Final cumulative quality point average 3.90
      • Perfect 4.00 average in major field of study

Legal Associations


  • Supreme Court of the United States
  •  Third Circuit Court of Appeals
  •  Federal District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania
  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
  • Northampton County Court of Common Pleas
  • Northampton County Bar Association
  • National District Attorneys Association
  • Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, past member
  • Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association, past member


  • Renald Baratta Memorial Legal Award, 2013 Roseto UNICO
  • Lehigh Valley Crime Stoppers Award , 2012
  • Easton Area Community Center Larry Holmes Humanitarian Award, 2011
  • Social Security Administration, Philadelphia Regional Anti-Fraud Award for prosecuting Identity Theft cases, 2003.
  • Bethlehem UNICO Man of the Year 2003
  • Easton UNICO Man of the Year 1998
  • Bethlehem Area Jaycee Distinguished Service Award 1994
  • Outstanding Young Man of the Year 1983
  • Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities 1976-1977
  • Phi Alpha Theta, History Honor Society 1976
  • Triangle Honor Society, Moravian College 1976
  • Citizenship-Leadership Award from Veterans of Foreign Wars 1973
  • History Award from Daughters of the American Revolution 1973
  • John F. Kennedy Award for Leadership in Student Government 1973

Community Involvement


  • Notre Dame High School, Middle States Evaluation Committee 2005-2006
  • Allentown Catholic Diocese Board of Education 1996-1998
  • Bethlehem Northeast Little League, Assistant Coach, 4 years
  • St. Anne’s Church Finance Council 1995-1998
  • Bethlehem School District Task Force on violence in the schools 1993
  • Board of Directors, Bethlehem Y.M.C.A. 1989-1991
  • Easton Area School District Task Force on school safety 1995
  • Bethlehem Area Jaycees – past member
  • Moravian College Alumni Association – past member
  • Boy’s Club of Bethlehem Fundraising Project 1984
  • South East Neighborhood Association, Board member

Always a Husband & Father First

Married, 1981 to former Diana Goretti

3 Children

Published Work

The D-Day Bank Massacre: The True Story Behind the Martin Appel Case

When justice went wrong, did a killer go free? On June 6, 1986, the 42nd  anniversary of D-Day, Martin Appel robbed a bank in East Allen, PA, and  slaughtered three employees in cold blood. Appel confesses to the crime  and begs to be sentenced to death, but when he gets his wish, he has a  change of heart. Now he is saying he is innocent and begging for a new  trial. Can the prosecution stop a convicted killer from walking free on a  technicality? A shocking true story of murder, lies and twisted  justice.