Special prosecutor assigned to crimes on SEPTA

June 17, 2024
The special prosecutor will investigate and prosecute crimes that occur on SEPTA property within Philadelphia County, Pa.

Michael Untermeyer has been appointed to be the special prosecutor tasked with investigating and prosecuting crimes on Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) within Philadelphia County, Pa. Untermeyer was appointed by Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry. The special prosecutor position was established through Pennsylvania Act 40, which was signed into law in December 2023. 

Untermeyer previously served as a private attorney with Untermeyer Law, where he concentrated in areas of real estate and business law, as well as civil and personal injury lawsuits. He has more than 15 years of experience as a Philadelphia prosecutor, as well as four years of experience as a hearing examiner for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Untermeyer has also worked as a trial attorney in the New York City Law Department, defending city agencies in personal injury and property damage claims. 

Act 40 required the special prosecutor to reside in Philadelphia County, have a minimum of five years of criminal prosecution experience in the commonwealth, be a member in good standing of the commonwealth’s bar for at least 10 years and not have been employed by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office or the Office of Attorney General during the past six years. 

“We worked diligently to follow the mandates of Act 40 to fill the position, first by posting the opportunity, then interviewing applicants to ascertain if they fit the specific criteria established by the law,” Attorney General Henry said. “We selected a candidate who expressed a commitment to public safety while possessing the qualifications required by Act 40.”

While Act 40 was signed into law in December and required a special prosecutor to be appointed within 30 days of the law going into effect, a lawsuit brought by Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner temporarily paused implementation. The district attorney argued the law removed authority from his office and undermined voters’ right to elect their prosecutor. The Commonwealth Courted ruled on June 14 that Act 40 was constitutional.  A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office called the court’s decision “deeply disappointing.” The District Attorney’s Office plans to appeal the decision. 

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.