The Law: The Tiger

Every morning, before Richard Sprague climbs into his black Chrysler, a bodyguard checks the car for a bomb. This is because Sprague, as first assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, has sought a first-degree murder conviction in 66 cases and got what he wanted in 65. Two convictions were against killers of United Mine Workers Official Joseph Yablonski, and word came from the minefields that there was a contract out on Sprague's life. Sprague doesn't take the threat seriously. The people who work for him do.

Now 46, Sprague is one of the most effective...