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BREAKING: State Senate Votes to Postpone Krasner Trial

In a unanimous vote, the GOP-controlled state Senate postponed the impeachment trial of controversial Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, charged with the House of Representatives with misbehavior in office and obstructing a legislative investigation.

No new date for the trial was announced.

Talk radio host Dom Giordano, a Philadelphia resident, has led the fight to have to have Krasner impeached.

“I would be OK if the Senate announced they were going to appeal but this decision is political cowardice,” Giordano said.

Last month, Krasner’s lawyers filed an answer to the state Senate’s summons for him to appear at the impeachment trial, then scheduled for January 18.

In the 22-page document, the lawyers said the articles of impeachment the state House filed are unconstitutional and that Krasner has not engaged in misbehavior while in office as the House alleged. Commonwealth Court Judge Ellen Ceisler agreed that none of the articles filed against Krasner amounted to “misbehavior in office,” but she rejected Krasner’s assertion that the Legislature doesn’t have the power to remove local officials from office.

Crime rates have soared in the city under Krasner’s watch, including 2021’s bloody record of 562 killings. Murders dropped to 516 in 2022 and there had already been 9 homicides reported as of Jan. 10, 2023.  Carjackings also doubled to more than 1,000 last year.

State Rep. Craig Williams (R-Chester/Delaware) was among the representatives chosen to present the impeachment case against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner to the state Senate.

Williams  believes he was chosen because of his background as a prosecutor.

“I am a former assistant U.S. Attorney for Philadelphia and Denver,” said Williams. “The former chief prosecutor of the Marine Corp Reserves, former chief prosecutor of the largest and busiest Marine base.”

Both Williams and Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) declined to comment Wednesday. White pushed to impeach Krasner, bringing crime victims to the capitol to share their heartbreaking stories and later to testify during hearings held by the House in Philadelphia.

A spokeswoman for the state Senate said the move to delay the impeachment trial is related to the Commonwealth Court’s decision. This will give the legislature’s lawyers time to study the case and possibly file an appeal.

Removing Krasner from office will require the support of two-thirds of the state Senate.

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DA Krasner’s Lawyers Say Impeachment is Unconstitutional and Deny Charges

Lawyers for Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner on Wednesday filed an answer to the state Senate’s summons for him to appear at a Jan. 18 impeachment trial.

In the 22-page document, the lawyers said the articles of impeachment the state House filed are unconstitutional and that Krasner has not engaged in misbehavior while in office as the House alleged.

Furthermore, the lawyers wrote, Krasner was elected by Philadelphia voters twice to do exactly what he is doing, reforming the process of criminal justice in the city. They further claimed the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, not the legislature, has jurisdiction over attorneys.

In November, the House voted 107-85 to impeach Krasner. The Select Committee recommended impeachment after hearing crime victims’ impassioned testimony about how Krasner did not convict the culprits and turned a cold shoulder to their grief and fear.

Krasner is a former defense lawyer whose progressive policies align with a group of other district attorneys whose campaigns were also funded by money from Democratic mega-donor George Soros. When the impeachment articles were introduced by Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia), Krasner claimed the action was “devastating to democracy and it shows how far toward fascism the Republican Party is creeping.”

But White, who pressed for impeachment for bringing crime victims to the capitol said, “Mr. Krasner has proven himself derelict in his duties as the district attorney of Philadelphia by inappropriately using prosecutorial discretion to act against the public’s interest.”

But Krasner’s lawyers said his office secured convictions in 87 percent of the more than 500 homicide cases held for trial since 2017. However, last year the city saw 562 homicides and had reached 502 as of Dec. 20 for this year.

“Because of decades of divestment, a deadly pandemic that devastated the economy and normal enforcement initiatives and prevention of crime, and an unprecedented rise in firearms purchases, Philadelphia experienced a spike in homicides in 2021 and 2022 –a trend mirrored across Pennsylvania (where many counties experienced higher rates of increase in homicide than Philadelphia) and across the entire country,” the lawyers wrote.

And further, they argued Krasner “has worked tirelessly to find modern solutions that increase public safety by building up impacted communities in Philadelphia in ways that prevent crime after decades of chronic violence based on the failure of traditional approaches.” And while members of the legislature might disagree “the citizens of Philadelphia elected him because they overwhelmingly agree with those ideas and policies.”

Krasner is “an elected official” who is “not subject to impeachment by the state legislature, the lawyers assert. Also, because the impeachment was not carried out in the legislative session where it began, it is “null and void.”

Krasner denies all the allegations against him. They are “unsupported by any evidence whatsoever; they ignore a plethora of research showing that policies like the district attorney’s do not lead to increases in violent crime and at least one recent, sweeping study shows such policies correlate with reduced violent crime” his lawyers said.

The attorneys claimed the decisions Krasner has made were an “exercise of his prosecutorial discretion” and not a legitimate reason to remove him.

Krasner also “denies each and every material allegation” and “denies he engaged in misbehavior in office in the nature of violating the rules of professional conduct or code of judicial conduct,” the lawyers wrote. “To the contrary, District Attorney Krasner and the District Attorney’s Office and its lawyers fulfilled all of their duties and obligations as lawyers.”

If the Senate were to convict Krasner, “he would be immediately removed from office,” said Erica Clayton Wright, communications director for Interim Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward.

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Sen. Ward to Krasner: Constitution Says You Must Face Impeachment Trial

Impeached Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner filed a lawsuit earlier this month urging the courts to block the state Senate from trying him on the charges levied by the Pennsylvania House.

On Friday, the GOP-controlled Senate fired back with a lawsuit of its own, arguing the state constitution requires them to try the progressive district attorney.

Krasner’s lawsuit, targeting interim Senate President Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) and the as-yet-unnamed members of the Senate committee overseeing the impeachment, argued his trial would be unprecedented.

“Never before has the legislature exercised its power to impeach and remove someone duly elected twice for things that do not come close to a crime,” Krasner’s lawyers told the court. “And never before has the statewide legislature exercised its power to impeach a locally elected officer like District Attorney Krasner.”

Ward responded in Commonwealth Court and also filed a “Cross-Application for Summary Relief” arguing the Court cannot hear this matter without the Senate as a party, given that the suit seeks a declaration and order as to the rights of the Senate as a body.

In November, the House voted 107-85 to impeach Krasner, a progressive Democrat, who has presided over skyrocketing crime in Philadelphia. Under his watch, there have been 470 murders this year (as of Dec. 11) and 562 homicides in 2021. The city has seen more than 1,000 carjackings in 2022 as well.

The Senate set Jan. 18 as the date for the impeachment trial.

Krasner argues that as the duly elected district attorney, he is not subject to impeachment by the House and that the impeachment should not cross over to a new session that will begin on January 3.

In response to the House impeachment vote, Krasner said on Twitter: “Philadelphians’ votes, and Philadelphia voters, should not be erased. History will harshly judge this anti-democratic authoritarian effort to erase Philly’s votes – votes by Black, brown, and broke people in Philadelphia. And voters will have the last word.”

In the filing, Ward told the court the Senate is obligated to act upon the articles of impeachment according to Pennsylvania’s constitution.

“In commanding the Senate to try ‘all’ impeachments, the state constitution reflects a deliberate intent to ensure that the Senate’s impeachment function exists independent of its legislative powers,” according to the filing.

Ward also notes there were at least five prior impeachments in Pennsylvania. And if an impeachment is not permitted to go into the next session, a person who committed offenses would be able to walk away on a technicality based on timing rather than being held to account for their actions, Ward argued.

And Krasner, although he claims he is not bound by the legislature’s jurisdiction, “is in a position of public trust and is entrusted with exerting the power of the Commonwealth within Philadelphia County,” Ward’s filing noted.

Republicans said the definition of “misbehavior in office” was left vague so the drafters of impeachment in the House can “define its contours.”

“The context and the whole design of the impeachment clauses show that these acts were to be official, and the unlawfulness was to consist in a violation of public duty which might or might not have been an ordinary indictable offense,” the filing states.

And, conversely, Ward argued that since the Senate has not formed its impeachment committee, Krasner’s lawsuit is too early to be “ripe” for the court to act on.

The House committee that recommended impeachment heard from crime victims who said Krasner’s progressive policies that tilt toward the criminal rather than the victim had, in some cases, led to the deaths of their loved ones by those very criminals.

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PA Senate Sets January Trial Date for Philly DA Larry Krasner

The state Senate is expected to consider three resolutions Tuesday that are procedural steps in beginning the impeachment trial process for Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Earlier this month, the state House voted 107-85 to impeach Krasner, a progressive Democrat, who has presided over escalating crime in Philadelphia. Under his watch, there have been 470 murders this year (as of Sunday) and 562 homicides in 2021. The city has seen more than 1,000 carjackings in 2022 as well.

The push to oust Krasner was led by Philadelphia GOP Rep. Martina White, who brought crime victims to Harrisburg to protest and had them testify at an impeachment hearing in Philadelphia.

“The Senate is prepared to move forward with its constitutional obligation to try the impeachment of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner,” said Erica Clayton Wright, spokesperson for the Senate Republican Caucus.

The Senate will consider action on three resolutions which are procedural steps to begin the impeachment process.

“On Tuesday, two resolutions will set the rules of impeachment and invite the House of Representatives to formally present the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Wednesday. Following the delivery of the articles of impeachment to the Senate, all members of the Senate will take an oath to uphold the constitution for the impeachment trial and the Senate will consider the third resolution authorizing a writ of summons (to) District Attorney Larry Krasner formally notifying him of the charges and directing and answer to be delivered by Dec. 21, 2022.

“The Senate will then recess until January 2023 with the impeachment trial slated to begin on Jan. 18,” Wright added.

White declined to comment on Monday and a spokesperson for the House Republicans also refused to comment, saying at this point they will let the Senate process proceed.

Radio talk show host Dom Giordano, a Philadelphia resident, has been outspoken about Krasner and rising crime in the city. He has strongly advocated for Krasner’s impeachment.

“The trial is on and I have great faith in lead prosecutor (Rep.) Craig Williams (R-Chester/Delaware). “I am turning up the heat on Philadelphia state Sens. (Tina) Tartaglione (D) and Jimmy Dillon (D),” Giordano said.

Krasner responded via social media posts.

“Philadelphians’ votes, and Philadelphia voters, should not be erased. History will harshly judge this anti-democratic authoritarian effort to erase Philly’s votes – votes by Black, brown, and broke people in Philadelphia. And voters will have the last word,” Krasner tweeted.

And he also said via Twitter: “Last week’s impeachment is a shameful attempt to overturn the will of many Philadelphia voters who want a fairer justice system. Our lawsuit challenging the legality of this authoritarian move remains pending in court.”

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DelVal Rep to Present Krasner Impeachment Case to Senate

State Rep. Craig Williams (R-Chester/Delaware) was among the representatives chosen to present the impeachment case against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner to the state Senate.

Williams said he believes he was chosen because of his background as a prosecutor.

“I am a former assistant U.S. Attorney for Philadelphia and Denver,” said Williams. “The former chief prosecutor of the Marine Corp Reserves, former chief prosecutor of the largest and busiest Marine base.”

Rep. Tim Bonner (R-Mercer/Butler), another representative chosen as an impeachment manager, also has a prosecutorial background as an assistant district attorney.

Williams said though a trial date has not been set he is already preparing to present the seven articles of impeachment against Krasner to the Senate. Removal from office would require a two-thirds majority vote.

House Speaker Bryan Cutler also named Rep. Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia) as the third impeachment manager.

“These members exemplify the competency and character required in this moment,” Cutler said. “Their credibility cannot be understated, and each of their diverse experiences and education will help ensure this process is treated with the utmost professionalism and thoroughness. This trial must be transparent and presented at the highest possible standard, something this committee is more than capable of doing.”

After an investigation, the House voted largely along party lines to impeach Krasner, finding that he has not fulfilled his duties as a prosecutor in the wake of rising crime in Philadelphia. The vote concluded a months-long investigation by a House Select Committee examining the city’s recent surge in violence and what role Krasner’s conduct may have played. The committee heard heartbreaking testimony from witnesses who accused Krasner of not seeking justice for crime victims, even as homicides, shootings, and carjackings soared.

Krasner Impeached! Philly D.A. to Face Trial in Senate

In a 107-85 vote, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a resolution to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (D). The seven articles of impeachment are now going to the Senate for trial.

The vote concluded a months-long investigation by a House Select Committee examining the city’s recent surge in violence and what role Krasner’s conduct may have played. The committee heard heartbreaking testimony from witnesses who accused Krasner of not seeking justice for crime victims, even as homicides, shootings, and carjackings soared.

Krasner is a former defense lawyer, whose progressive policies align with a group of other district attorneys whose campaigns were funded by money from Democrat megadonor George Soros. When the articles were introduced by Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) last month, he called it “devastating to democracy and it shows how far toward fascism the Republican Party is creeping.”

White said the House had no choice.

“The information that was contained in the most recent preliminary report was so egregious to me I felt compelled to drop these articles of impeachment,” she said, referencing an interim report that outlined findings but did not include a recommendation of impeachment. “Mr. Krasner has proven himself derelict in his duties as the District Attorney of Philadelphia by inappropriately using prosecutorial discretion to act against the public’s interest.”

The seven articles introduced as amendments by Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams) list instances of “misbehavior in office,” ranging from the initial refusal to comply with the House Select Committee’s subpoenas to misleading both judges and crime victims in some cases. Another alleges Krasner made some crimes, like prostitution, theft, and drug offenses, “de facto legal” by refusing to prosecute them.

Unlike the most recent impeachment by the Pennsylvania House, when Justice Rolf Larsen was removed from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1994 following a conviction on criminal conspiracy charges related to prescription drugs, there is no criminal charge associated with the articles being sent to the Senate.

The votes were largely along party lines, with Rep. Mike Puskaric (R-Allegheny) voting against adding the amendments and passing the resolution.

Democrats accused Republicans of attempting to undermine an election held in Philadelphia. They also warned the impeachment would create a dangerous precedent. Rep. Mike Zabel (D-Delaware) provided some context from his days working in the District Attorney’s Office under Seth Williams (D). He referenced his high caseloads and all the different circumstances that could prevent convictions.

“The truth is prosecuting crimes in one of the largest cities in the country is a complex task with a never-ending parade of challenges,” he said. “There’s a myriad of factors that affect the outcome of every single criminal case…These articles attempt to pin the entirety of fault and blame on a single man for the challenges in a sprawling and endlessly complex criminal justice system.”

Following the vote, Krasner released a statement via Twitter. “Philadelphians’ votes, and Philadelphia voters, should not be erased. History will harshly judge this anti-democratic authoritarian effort to erase Philly’s votes – votes by Black, brown, and broke people in Philadelphia. And voters will have the last word.”

Krasner won re-election by a wide margin in an election with an extremely low turnout. White noted only 7.6 percent of the total population voted for Krasner in last November’s election.

Conviction and removal from office would require 34 guilty votes in a Senate with just 28 Republicans. If Krasner is convicted, he would be just the second person impeached and removed from office in the legislature’s 340-year history.

House Judiciary Committee Votes to Forward Krasner Impeachment Charges

The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee voted on Tuesday 14-8 along party lines, with three members not voting, to send impeachment charges against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner to the full chamber for a vote.

The vote came after a House Select Committee investigation of the district attorney’s actions since taking office in January 2018. The interim reports raised serious questions about the progressive prosecutor’s policies but did not include a formal recommendation to impeach.

Several Delaware Valley representatives played key roles in Tuesday’s vote.

Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia), who submitted the impeachment articles last month, laid out her case to the Committee before the vote.

“Since taking his oath of office, Mr. Krasner has chosen not to exercise his responsibilities as district attorney with fidelity,” she said. “Rather Mr. Krasner has engaged in misbehavior in office and obstruction. Mr. Krasner has proven himself derelict in his duties as district attorney in Philadelphia, inappropriately using prosecutorial discretion to act against the public interest by consistently dropping charges against repeat offenders, refusing to prosecute certain crimes outright, while also withdrawing and dismissing charges under the Uniform Firearms Act at an abnormally high rate.”

White maintained Krasner’s actions, and their contribution to soaring crime in the city, established the “misconduct” element required to pursue impeachment.

Rep. Jason Dawkins (D-Philadelphia) opposed the move to impeach. He told his fellow committee members about the murder of his brother when Dawkins was 13. Instead of castigating the district attorney at the time (Lynne Abraham) for the crime, he accused the General Assembly of not providing adequate resources to communities like his, echoing Krasner’s arguments about rising crime in Philadelphia.

“There is a dereliction of duty among all of us if this is how we’re going to proceed if we’re stating that these crimes in Philadelphia are caused by the lack of effort, or lack of movement, or lack of any of these things that we are holding him accountable to,” Dawkins said. “We can look to some of the root causes that we have talked about in our Philadelphia delegation platform, when we talk about poverty, talk about all the things that come out of poverty, of why some of these young people are making these very, very bad decisions.”

Dawkins’ attempt to table the impeachment charges until a hearing could be held to examine the report and discuss the circumstances surrounding Philadelphia’s crime surges failed by a 14-8 vote, with three members not voting.

Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Horsham) was one of the non-votes. Stephens could not be reached for comment.

Rep. Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia) called Krasner “woefully inadequate as a leader in the city,” and he called out the district attorney for inadequate training of front-line prosecutors as well as his “failure to provide effective, efficient and predictable enforcement of gun-related offenses.”

However, he opposed impeachment and urged the committee to follow legal precedent, which has never impeached an elected official, nor has ever done so without specific criminal charges. He compared the attempt to impeach Krasner to Republicans’ attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

White rebuffed the argument that impeachment was a violation of the democratic process. “It’s been said that ‘elections have consequences,’ absolutely,” she said, “Who oversees the district attorney in Philadelphia? We do. We’re the only body that can take action to impact this man for what he has done to our city.”

Krasner was given the opportunity to testify before the House Select Committee investigating his tenure but refused the closed-door hearing offered in October. Instead, he took to the Capitol steps, accusing Republicans of a politically-motivated witch hunt and insisted the vote on his fate would occur before the midterm elections.

Following the vote, White told reporters she expected the full chamber vote to happen Wednesday. She also expects bipartisan support for the impeachment articles, as the House had bipartisan support for a contempt charge earlier in the year after the district attorney’s office refused to comply with subpoenas and requests from the House Select Committee. Instead, the district attorney sued to challenge the committee’s validity in Commonwealth Court.

DelVal Reacts to Krasner Impeachment Resolution

For Philadelphia’s Martina White, filing articles of impeachment against her city’s district attorney is not about Larry Krasner. It is about crime victims.

“Our people have suffered for long enough and his policies have pretty much destroyed our city,” the Republican state representative told DVJournal Wednesday, just hours after announcing the impeachment articles were being filed. And, she said, she saw no reason to wait for the Select Committee process to run its course.

“Earlier this week I took note of a report that was issued by the Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order that described egregious misbehavior and conduct by Larry Krasner’s office and himself,” said White. “So, I just felt compelled to move forward with this. I don’t feel that it’s necessary to wait any longer. Our people have suffered for long enough and his policies have pretty much destroyed our city.”

Mike Chitwood

While the investigation is ongoing, “I just feel compelled to move forward because there are instances of repeated disregard of victims on sentencing matters, such as in the case of Lisa Hart-Newman, who was left to freeze to death as an infant at the scene of her parents’ murders,” said White.

The district attorney’s office never contacted Newman before going before a judge “to advocate on behalf of her parents’ murderer. The staggering amount of dysfunction that has come to light from untrained staff, from top to bottom being too inexperienced to successfully try cases,” said White.

“They have a lack of institutional knowledge on basic courtroom procedures, and it’s led to disastrous results. I mean, we have high levels of withdrawals, dismissals basically, criminals are walking free.”

Retired police officer Mike Chitwood said the impeachment move is good news for area law enforcement. Chitwood, who served 19 years as a Philadelphia officer before becoming police superintendent for Upper Darby, told DVJournal the officers working with this district attorney are very disheartened.

“The morale in the Philadelphia Police Department is zero to none,” said Chitwood. “That’s how bad it is, not only because of Krasner in there but because of the lack of support that they themselves receive from the (Kenney) administration.”

Asked whether Philadelphia voters, who are overwhelmingly Democratic, would just elect another progressive ideologue, Chitwood said, “Here is what really, really galls me, when he ran for reelection and won, where were the voters? Why did they vote him in?”

“He has allowed criminals to run the system. He has allowed criminals to run Philadelphia. And he has allowed criminals to do whatever they do without consequences. Period. That’s exactly what he’s done,” Chitwood added.

And, says White, it is not just voters and legislators upset by Krasner’s performance. Judges have noticed, too.

“Common Pleas Judge Barbara McDermott actually called the office’s prosecutors incompetent,” said White. And Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty, a Philadelphia native, issued a scathing opinion blasting the district attorney’s handling of a case.

Asked what was next, White said it would go to the House Judiciary Committee, then to the full House for a vote. After that the Senate would then have a trial, she said.

“The Speaker, I believe just put on another day (on the House calendar) for us to be able to facilitate running this impeachment article out of the House and get it over to the Senate,” White said.

Krasner had tried to stonewall the committee, she said. But after the House found him to be in contempt he turned over some materials.

Krasner pushed back against the impeachment, accusing the Republican-led House of political grandstanding, since it is shortly before the midterm elections, and also of racism.

White denied those contentions.

“This is specifically regarding public safety and had he not been a bad actor and misbehaving in his duties and responsibilities to the public and to do what’s in the public’s interest, he wouldn’t be going through this,” she said. And as for racism, “I would say it’s a fallacy, it’s a distraction from what is actually happening before our own eyes.

“Black and Brown people are dying on our streets and the district attorney standing there watching it and saying that we don’t have a crisis of crime.”

 

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Impeach! PA House Filing Articles Against Philly’s Progressive DA

Pennsylvania’s House leadership is filing articles of impeachment against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. The progressive prosecutor has become a symbol of what Republicans call “soft-on-crime” policies that they say have led to the national surge in big-city crime.

On the last scheduled business day before Election Day, Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) filed a resolution that included the articles of impeachment.

The House Select Committee to Restore Law and Order released a second interim report on Monday, which included testimony from public hearings and information from subpoenaed documents and other sources. While the report did not provide any recommendations to move forward on impeachment, it was not the final word from the committee.

White has been involved throughout the impeachment process, attending both days of public hearings in September. She is the lone Republican member of the Philadelphia delegation. During her appearance at the press conference, she cited the 78 percent increase in homicides in Philadelphia since Krasner became district attorney in 2018.

“Larry Krasner is the top law enforcement official who is supposed to be representing the interest of our commonwealth in Philadelphia,” she said at a press conference Wednesday. “His dereliction of duty and despicable behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

She encouraged her colleagues to “put politics aside and do the right thing” in supporting the articles.

Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland) accused Krasner of “prioritizing criminals over victims” with policies that have led to fewer prosecutions and substantially higher dismissal and withdrawal rates of crimes. Ecker served on the select committee and insisted the overall behavior and attitudes of the district attorney’s administration met the threshold of an impeachable offense.

He also described the efforts Krasner used to avoid responding to the charges, saying “our work was met with the worst kind of obstruction and defiance.”

“District Attorney Krasner has failed to uphold his elected duty to enforce the laws of Pennsylvania and protect the citizens of the commonwealth,” Ecker said. “That is the very definition of misbehavior in office, which is contained in our Pennsylvania state constitution.”

Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) did not commit to a specific timeline for the voting process. He did note that discussions have occurred with the Speaker’s office and voting days may be added to the calendar and the process may work into the new session next year. However, he flatly denied the accusations of Krasner and others that this is an attempt to influence the upcoming election.

“I believe the people of Philadelphia are no longer free,” Benninghoff said. “Day after day, when I see the news of constantly increasing violence in Philly, I think it’s time to say enough is enough. Philadelphia citizens are prisoners of fear.”

Before the press conference, Krasner took to his Twitter account, decrying the efforts, insisting no crime was committed, and claiming the House Republicans “just don’t think Philly has a right to govern itself.”

“It’s the last day of session before the election. The House could pass gun reform. It could improve our schools. It could work to improve our infrastructure. Instead, it is playing political theatre and trying to remove Philly’s right to vote,” read one tweet.

One of the issues pinpointed during public testimony that was also mentioned in the report was the inconsistent and inadequate enforcement of existing gun laws, notably VUFA cases as handled by the district attorney’s office. Since taking office in 2018, withdrawals and dismissals of cases have increased dramatically in Philadelphia. Many charged who later walk free have been charged with other offenses, including homicide.

The 63-page report released by the committee detailed the results of dozens of interviews and documents reviewed by the committee. It also described Krasner’s reluctance to cooperate with the investigation. Krasner had sued the General Assembly in August in Commonwealth Court over the validity of the committee. His initial refusal to testify led to a bipartisan vote in the House to hold the district attorney in contempt. The report noted Krasner then submitted a six-page letter to satisfy the testimony request.

The committee also listened to heart-wrenching testimony from crime victims and their families who described the callous treatment they received from the district attorney’s office.

There have been 438 homicides in Philadelphia this year and 562 in 2021. The city has also seen more than 1,000 carjackings since this time last year, including one involving Democratic Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon.

“When we repeatedly see the extensive criminal histories of those we arrest for violent crime, the question needs to be asked as to why they were yet again back on the street and terrorizing our communities,” Philadelphia Police Superintendent Danielle Outlaw recently said.

If the House votes to impeach him, Krasner would next be subject to a trial in the state Senate, which would then vote on whether to remove him from office.

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House Select Committee Releases Report on Krasner Impeachment Hearings

No impeachment for Larry Krasner before the midterm elections.

That was the news as the House Select Committee investigating Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (D) released a second interim report Monday.

The 63-page report details the results of dozens of interviews and documents reviewed by the committee. It also describes the persistent resistance from Krasner, who sued the General Assembly in August in Commonwealth Court over the validity of the committee. His initial refusal to testify led to a bipartisan vote in the House to hold the district attorney in contempt. The report noted Krasner submitted a six-page letter to satisfy the testimony request.

“Rather than collaborate with the Select Committee, the DAO and DA Krasner have put up roadblocks at every turn, even filing frivolous litigation against the Select Committee and its members,” the report’s executive summary reads in part. “DA Krasner’s repeated and ongoing obstruction of the Select Committee’s investigation no doubt speaks to his failure to integrate and effectuate his progressive policies with any success—as an office, in failing to be a collaborative partner with other public safety stakeholders, and as a voice for victims, in failing to competently and successfully prosecute violent criminals.”

As the report details, the district attorney’s office was the only one of six Philadelphia offices to refuse to submit requested documents following August subpoenas. That included the offices of the mayor, sheriff, city controller, and police department. Instead, Krasner filed the lawsuit that remains pending.

The rise in crime in Philadelphia has happened alongside lower prosecution rates. According to the district attorney’s office data, 30 percent of “all offenses” were withdrawn or dismissed in 2016. That number rose to 67 percent last year. And 21 percent of firearm cases were nolle prossed or withdrawn after initial charges were filed in 2021, up from 10 percent in 2016. Groups like the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center, which created two studies for the PPD as part of its response to the investigation, have noticed the decrease in convictions has altered the mindset of those arrested.

“This implies that, even when criminals are caught with a gun, they are swiftly finding out they may not receive as significant a consequence as they had historically,” their findings read in part. “Notably, the likelihood of being arrested is low to begin with. This means that criminals know that their likelihood of getting caught with a gun is slim and, even if they get caught, they feel that they can leave without severe (or any) consequences.”

Matching a theme found through public testimony in September, the report cited interviews reporting that Krasner was not just reorganizing his office under his vision, but he ignored decades of previous best practices and seemingly alienating partners, notably police officers. In addition to changing rules on bail requests and creating a list of officers not to call as witnesses at trial, Krasner instructed the reduction or dismissal of certain charges when they would affect a defendant’s immigration status, especially when relating to illegal immigrants. The report also details the amount and level of criticism the DAO has received from federal and commonwealth judges.

In a statement following the report’s release, Chairman John Lawrence (R-Chester) said the work was not done. A final report will likely come out before the House’s term ends this fall.

“Today’s report is by no means a conclusion of the committee’s work,” Lawrence’s statement reads in part. “The investigation into the historic crime and violence in Philadelphia and recommendations for possible solutions will continue in earnest over the coming weeks.”

Krasner’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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