Matthew Weintraub is ready for his first full four-year term to begin as Bucks County’s district attorney, though it’s safe to say he already knows his way around.
Weintraub was appointed in September 2016 to succeed David Heckler, who retired.
The Republican won re-election with 54.4 percent of the vote over Democratic challenger Rich Scholer, partly due to the high-profile murder case of Cosmo DiNardo this summer, in which four men were found murdered.
Twenty-year-old DiNardo avoided the death penalty — thanks to Weintraub — in exchange for confessing the murders and revealing where the bodies were buried.
“It was just a terrible, terrible situation to have to go through,” said Weintraub, who was backed by a supportive team for that case. “I really stayed true to who I was, and we were able to assess the situation, find those four boys and arrest the people that were culpable in a relatively quick amount of time.”
Weintraub appreciates his sense of identity, backed by values of character and integrity that stem from his Jewish upbringing.
“My parents said be true to yourself, keep your values intact, try to always do the right thing, always try your best, and don’t be afraid to fail,” he said. “All of those character assets came into play … in that situation I found myself faced with.”
Weintraub came into the position with almost 25 years of prosecution experience. A graduate of William Tennent High School, Ursinus College and Temple University School of Law, he has previously served as chief of prosecution for the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, trying more than 100 criminal cases.
Weintraub said he’s excited to get back to work.
“My priority is keeping people in Bucks County safe,” he said. “For the past year, my focus has been split in half, and now I can really dedicate myself to protecting people and being progressive and proactive.”
Weintraub has a few issues to maintain his focus, which include continuing to promote a gun safety program and a universal Narcan program, which provides the overdose antidote to all Bucks County police officers.
He’s working on other ways to combat the opioid epidemic, too, such as creating a Bucks County police aid and recovery program, which would enable people suffering from addiction to walk themselves into a police station and ask for immediate help, even if they have drugs or paraphernalia on them.
Human trafficking also plagues Bucks County, he said, in which young women are forced into prostitution against their will and often become drug addicted — another cycle he wants to break.
“The drug issue is of paramount importance right now,” he added, but Weintraub will make protecting the elderly population a priority, too.
“They’ve become just incessantly preyed upon by scam artists. With the advent of the internet,” he said, “I liken it to a person being able to throw 500 fishing lines in the water by using the internet, and they only have to catch one fish a day to sustain themselves. Our elderly population is really suffering as a result of that.”
Weintraub often visits senior centers or schools to explain how to keep themselves safe amid these online issues. But preaching internet safety isn’t just edification for the elderly.
“Our youngsters, their brains are just not developed enough to understand conceptually that everything they put out there on the internet is going to last forever and is accessible by anyone,” he said.
Weintraub was the only Republican row officer to win in November. He credits his appeal to both sides of the aisle to his community outreach and sense of fairness regardless of party affiliation.
Weintraub grew up in Upper Southampton Township, becoming a Bar Mitzvah at Shir Ami in Newtown, which he said is an integral part of his identity. (He was raised to be a staunch proponent of Israel, though visiting the Jewish state is still on his wish list.)
“My belief in faith and God has helped to sustain me in times of crisis,” he added. “That has provided me with a great foundation on which to build.”
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