Lawmakers say Larry Krasner’s soft-on-crime policies make the city unsafe
Josh Christenson • November 16, 2022 3:05 pm
Pennsylvania lawmakers voted on Wednesday to impeach Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner (D.), capping a months-long campaign to remove the George Soros-backed prosecutor on the heels of a historic murder wave.
A Republican majority passed seven articles of impeachment against Krasner almost entirely along party lines. The articles state that Krasner failed to prosecute violent offenders, withheld facts in cases, and violated victims’ rights. It now falls on the Republican-controlled state Senate to bring him to trial. Members of the upper chamber can vote to remove Krasner with a two-thirds vote.
A spokeswoman for the state Senate majority leader told the Washington Free Beacon that the upper chamber shares “the concerns expressed by leaders in the House of Representatives about how the crime crisis is affecting Philadelphia and the Commonwealth as a whole” and noted that “the Senate’s role in this process is to hear the evidence presented by the House of Representatives.”
Krasner is the latest Soros-backed prosecutor to face a removal effort. Los Angeles district attorney George Gascón (D.), who took $4.7 million from the liberal megadonor, narrowly dodged a recall election earlier this year. And San Francisco voters in June ousted radical prosecutor Chesa Boudin (D.). Krasner received $1.7 million from Soros’s Justice and Public Safety PAC.
Krasner has overseen fewer convictions and higher rates of recidivism since taking office in 2017. Philadelphia, which experiences nearly half of the violent crime in the state, recorded 562 homicides in 2021—its highest number to date. Murders have more than doubled in Pennsylvania since 2016.
Lawmakers say Krasner’s soft-on-crime policies made Philadelphians unsafe.
“Larry Krasner is the top law enforcement official who is supposed to be representing the interests of our Commonwealth in Philadelphia criminal cases,” said Rep. Martina White, a Republican who represents Philadelphia and in October introduced the articles of impeachment. “His dereliction of duty and despicable behavior is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. No public official is above accountability.”
Republicans on Wednesday submitted additional articles of impeachment highlighting Krasner’s misbehavior in office. They accused the prosecutor of taking steps to deny a police officer a fair trial, pushing to reduce a convicted murderer’s sentence without notifying the victim’s family, and failing to disclose a conflict of interest involving Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convicted cop killer who in January appealed his life sentence to the district attorney’s office.
Krasner’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Like other progressive prosecutors, Krasner opts not to prosecute many low-level crimes like drug dealing or retail theft. He employs a special unit in his office to reverse “wrongful convictions,” exonerating almost 30 felons so far. In October, one of those felons, a convicted murderer, was charged with homicide.
Philadelphia police commissioner Danielle Outlaw last month slammed Krasner’s policy, saying that officers “are tired of arresting the same suspects over and over again, only to see them right back out on the street to continue and sometimes escalate their criminal ways.”
House lawmakers launched their select committee on Krasner’s leadership following a high-profile June shooting in Philadelphia, which killed 3 and wounded 11 in a popular nightlife area.
Democrats maintain that Krasner has not committed impeachable offenses and claim that removing him from office would overturn the will of the electorate. Krasner won reelection in 2021 with more than 70 percent of the vote. Senate Republicans will need to persuade at least five Democrats to cross the aisle to remove Krasner.
The last official impeached in Pennsylvania was Rolf Larsen, a member of the state Supreme Court who was convicted in 1994 for having fraudulently obtained prescription tranquilizers.