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Krasner Tries to Block Law Giving Special Prosecutor SEPTA Crime Cases

Progressive Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner filed a lawsuit hoping to block a bill giving some of his authority to a special prosecutor for SEPTA-related crime.

On his website, Krasner called Act 40 an “unprecedented assault on a locally elected official’s authority and on the rights of voters in the most populous and racially diverse county in the commonwealth.”

Supporters see it as an attempt to increase public safety by punishing criminals the Philly D.A. won’t.

“The Larry Krasner philosophy of non-prosecution is dangerous to law-abiding citizens and music to the ears of violent criminals,” said Rep. Craig  Williams (R-Chester/Delaware), who is also a GOP candidate for state attorney general. “As attorney general, I will get concurrent jurisdiction from the legislature to prosecute violent crime that Larry Krasner will not. We gave Josh Shapiro that jurisdiction (as attorney general) to prosecute in Philadelphia, and he chose to side with Krasner and not use that authority to prosecute. I will use it – aggressively.”

Krasner pushed back on the proposal by pointing out on his website that the legislation was “written by a Republican senator [Wayne Langerholc] whose district in Cambria, Centre, and Clearfield Counties is far closer geographically to Allegheny County than Philadelphia County, and who has baldly stated it intends to usurp the authority of the elected district attorney in Philadelphia County only. District Attorney Larry Krasner has been duly elected by Philadelphia voters twice – most recently in 2021 by a whopping 44 percent margin.”

“Meanwhile, the attorney general who is authorized to appoint a ‘special prosecutor’ for SEPTA – which in effect would cover nearly all of Philadelphia County – is a political appointee who was not chosen by voters.”

Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-Armstrong/Indiana) fired back.

“Ensuring public safety is paramount to upholding our constitutional obligation as elected officials. Larry Krasner’s video announcement this morning while shielding himself from questions from the public and press further demonstrates his weak and absent leadership,” said Pittman.

“Act 40 is strong legislation which received bipartisan support by the General Assembly, was signed into law by Democrat Governor Shapiro, and is supported by SEPTA,” Pittman said. “It is time D.A. Krasner stops playing political games and starts working with Republicans and Democrats alike to make sure America’s sixth largest city is safe.”

Another local senator whose constituents ride SEPTA, Sen. Tracy Penncuick (R-Montgomery/Berks), said, “As elected officials, our number one priority must always be the safety of the public. Those who rely upon SEPTA, including many residents of my district, should never have to fear for their safety when using their vital services. Act 40 is a bipartisan, good-faith effort, which was signed into law by Gov. Shapiro to make SEPTA a safer form of transportation for all riders.”

“I hope District Attorney Krasner will rethink his position on Act 40 and join the state Senate, state House, and Gov. Shapiro in supporting and implementing this important commonsense measure,” Pennycuick added.

Attorney General Michelle Henry said her office did not request the special prosecutor but is required by law to implement Act 40.

“It is not the duty of the attorney general to determine the wisdom of the policy underlying Act 40,” she said. “The Office of Attorney General also does not have the power to, on its own, declare the statute unconstitutional — that power rests solely with the judiciary.

“Unless and until a court of law declares Act 40 unconstitutional, the Office of Attorney General is required, pursuant to the Commonwealth’s Attorney Act, to carry out this legislative mandate. Act 40 does not permit any discretion on the part of our agency to appoint a special prosecutor — it compels it.

“Our office has worked hard to meet the mandate to appoint a special prosecutor, but given the narrow requirements set by the legislature, we have been unable to do so. We will respond to Mr. Krasner’s complaint as required by court rules,” Henry said.

Act 40 is just the latest salvo in the war between the state legislature and Krasner. In 2022, the House voted to impeach Krasner, claiming he had failed to enforce the laws in Philadelphia. The Senate did not try the case because it’s been tied up in the courts and is currently pending in the state Supreme Court.

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Amid Rising Crime Across Delaware Valley, Philly Top Cop Says ‘I’m Out!’

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw is out, and critics say, given the surge in violent crime during her tenure, it’s none too soon.

Mayor Jim Kenney announced Tuesday that Outlaw is leaving her post to take a job with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Her last day is Sept. 22.

Mike Chitwood, the former Upper Darby police superintendent who spent nearly 20 years with the Philadelphia Police Department, said he wasn’t surprised that Outlaw is jumping ship.

“The rank-and-file officers called her ‘MIA’ (for ‘missing in action’),” said Chitwood, adding that Outlaw frequently traveled to the West Coast. “She should have never been police commissioner.”

Crime fighting in Philadelphia “has collapsed” under her tenure, Chitwood said. “She had to go. The first year, she was missing in action. In the second and third years, there was a total collapse. I blame the mayor.”

Philadelphia FOP Lodge 5 President John McNesby, who often locked horns with Outlaw, said, “We wish Commissioner Outlaw the very best in her next opportunity. And we look forward to working with interim Commissioner John Stanford. Our rank-and-file police officers face significant challenges keeping our city safe, being down at least 1,500 police officers, and hope we can begin to make progress on the challenges of recruiting and retaining qualified police officers.”

Outlaw released a statement praising her staff for its “teamwork, innovative thinking, and determination” and thanking Kenney for the “honor and privilege to serve.”

Philadelphia is in the process of electing a new mayor, and that person will pick the next police commissioner. Both Republican David Oh and Democrat Charelle Parker pledge to be tough on crime.

Oh said, “I wish Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw well in her new position. I appreciated her responsiveness and professionalism under very difficult circumstances. No sooner had she arrived when she had to lead the Police Department through the outbreak of COVID-19, George Floyd civil unrest, defund the police movement, and the mayor and district attorney’s weak on crime policies. I felt she was disadvantaged by an administration that had strained relations with its police force.”

Parker, who is all but certain to be the next mayor of the overwhelmingly Democratic city, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Vince Fenerty, chairman of the Philadelphia Republican City Committee, called Outlaw’s time as Police Commissioner “a total failure to police the city’s streets, leaving the city a much more violent, unsafe, and tumultuous place than when she took office in February of 2020. If you are a resident of Philadelphia, chances are you have heard a gunshot near your door in the time since Outlaw took over; chances are you know somebody who has been robbed, carjacked, shot, or killed.”

Law enforcement in suburban communities have complained Philadelphia’s failure to control crime has resulted in more violence in local streets.

“It’s worse in Philly because she was in charge,” said Chitwood. “And not only Philly but the greater Philadelphia area.”

Broad and Liberty compiled crime statistics showing a jump for both the city and suburbs, with carjackings increasing since 2019. The city had 1,331 carjackings in 2022 compared to 224 in 2019. Homicides dropped slightly from 556 in 2021 to 504 in 2022, but robberies increased by 20.75 percent.

And crime in the collar counties grew by double digits from 2021 to 2022, faster than the rest of the state.

Kenney stood by his outgoing commissioner.

“Commissioner Outlaw has worked relentlessly for three and a half years during an unprecedented era in our city and a number of crisis situations, and she deserves praise for her commitment to bring long-overdue reform to the department after years of racism and gender discrimination prior to her appointment,” said Kenney. “We wish her success in her new position and thank Commissioner Outlaw for her dedication to serving the residents of Philadelphia.”

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Progressive Activists Rally Around Krasner on Eve of Impeachment Hearings

Pennsylvania progressives are circling the wagons around one of their own as a bipartisan committee prepares to convene Thursday to consider his impeachment.

The bipartisan state House Select Committee is expected to hear testimony from witnesses regarding the impeachment of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner at the Navy Yard on Thursday and Friday.

The crime data on Krasner’s watch aren’t in dispute. Last year, there were a record 562 homicides in the city, and as of September 26, another 400 people were murdered this year. Both elected officials and city residents have demanded action. Many blame Krasner’s progressive policies — he’s been called “Philly cops’ worst enemy” — for the rising tide of crime.

Committee members have been asked not to comment publicly about the hearings, said David Foster, a spokesperson for the House Republicans. Krasner’s political allies, however, have been outspoken.

The Working Families Party, a left-wing political organization that endorses candidates at the state and local level, announced Friday it is pulling its endorsements from Democrats like state Reps. Danilo Burgos and Nancy Guenst who voted to condemn Krasner for not responding to the House Select Committee’s subpoena.

And the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity joined a group of legislative Democrats last week to rally on behalf of Krasner, despite the fact people of color have disproportionally been victims of violent crime under Krasner.

“This is directly connected to a historical legacy of people trying to take the votes of Black people right out of our hands,” said the Rev. Mark Kelly Taylor, pastor of Mother Bethel A.M.E Church. “If we sit back silently and Larry Krasner is impeached successfully no elected official within the city of Philadelphia is safe in the future.”

Krasner released a statement Monday calling the bipartisan effort “a bad faith, unconstitutional attempt to overturn the 2021 election over my office’s policies of evenly applied and equal accountability for all who criminally cause harm to our communities.”

State Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) is not on the committee, but she has been very outspoken about crime and Krasner’s record. She laid the blame for the hearings at his feet.

“District Attorney Larry Krasner was given ample opportunity to work with the committee but was found in contempt for not complying with a lawful subpoena,” said White.  “This committee is holding fact-finding hearings in Philadelphia and Mr. Krasner’s efforts to instigate his most radical supporters to disrupt the committee’s hearings will not be tolerated or successful.

“Victims of crime who have suffered due to the actions and inaction of the district attorney will not be silenced any longer,” White said. “Whistleblowers should have every right to come forward. What is Larry Krasner hiding?”

White previously led a group of Philadelphia crime victims to Harrisburg to protest Krasner’s lack of prosecution and to press lawmakers to do something.

In his public statement, Krasner also complained about the hearings being held at the Navy Yard which, he says, are inconvenient for city residents to attend.

A spokeswoman for Krasner did not respond to a request for comment.

Before his re-election in 2021, Krasner spoke to the Delaware Valley Journal, blaming the spiking crime rate on the COVID-19 pandemic. And as for statistics on increased gun charges being filed but fewer defendants convicted, Krasner blamed the circumstances of cases that are not provable “beyond a reasonable doubt,” giving an example of five people in a car with a gun in the trunk.

“You have to look at these on a case-by-case basis,” Krasner said.


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GIORDANO: Larry Krasner for SCOTUS!

When the news broke last week that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring from the Supreme Court, I reminded my radio listeners that the progressive group Demand Justice had Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner on their shortlist of people they would like to see on the Supreme Court.

For the record, I wholly support the nomination of Krasner because he would be rejected, and the spectacle of his testimony would help to get him impeached from his current office and further shine a light on all the current George Soros-supported district attorneys that are enabling an out-of-control crime surge.

The impeachment of Krasner has been a centerpiece of my thinking since Pennsylvania Senate President Jake Corman broke the news on my show that he wrote an open letter to the Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives calling upon them to start the impeachment process against Krasner for his refusal to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

That announcement has triggered tremendous support from my listeners, but a number of tense interviews with Republican elected officials who are dreaming up all kinds of reasons why they won’t proceed with holding Krasner accountable. People like State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who is also a candidate for governor. He went on Newsmax to say it would be wrong to try to impeach Krasner because Krasner recently won re-election with 70 percent of the vote in Philadelphia.

Well, Alvin Bragg, the recently-elected district attorney of Manhattan who won 83 percent of the vote, was confronted in a public meeting by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. Word was leaked from the meeting that Hochul would remove Bragg from office if he continued his promise to not prosecute or fully prosecute violent crimes. Therefore, since we have no impeachment process in Philadelphia, we need state officials to hold Krasner accountable.

Republicans have also told me they have given Attorney General Josh Shapiro concurrent power to Krasner to prosecute crimes that Krasner will not prosecute. I believe that is an attempt to damage Shapiro’s run for governor. They have to know Shapiro has not challenged Krasner yet and will continue to dodge using this power.

Republican leaders have also told me Corman and the state Senate already have the power to remove Krasner from office, and they don’t want any proceedings to start in the House of Representatives. I think they are wrong. In order for any impeachment proceedings to not be perceived as wholly political, it is important that Krasner be given every chance to defend himself by receiving full hearings in the House, followed by an impeachment vote in the House, followed by a trial in the Senate.

The last argument I’ve heard by elected officials on my show is that no Democrat in the Senate would vote to impeach, giving the body the necessary two-thirds of votes needed to remove Krasner from office. First, Corman told me last week he had been approached by two Philadelphia Democrat House members who said if articles of impeachment are presented, they would vote to impeach Krasner. Corman also noted several relatively moderate Democrat senators would be under pressure from their constituents to vote to remove Krasner if he testified and his record was fully publicized across the state.

I’m convinced that within the next few weeks, articles of impeachment against Krasner will be offered in the House of Representatives. When that happens, it will be time to force Krasner to explain how his non-enforcement of the law and the resulting carnage in Philadelphia is not impeachable.

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Corman Asks House to Impeach Philly DA Larry Krasner

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner may soon find himself in the hot seat after Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman sent a letter to three top House Republicans this week asking them to begin impeachment proceedings against Krasner.

Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner

Corman, who is among a crowded field of Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for governor, cited Philadelphia’s unprecedented violence during the last two years as indicative of Krasner’s “failed policies” to address surging gun violence and “perform the duties of his to hold criminals accountable for the crimes that they commit.”

The city set a record for homicides with more than 560 in 2021. More than 1,000 people were killed over the last two years, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, which pointed out at least 30 have been slain since the start of this year.

Corman pointed to members of the General Assembly and Congress who were impacted by the bloodshed.

State Sen. Sharif Street’s cousin was murdered last year, and his Philadelphia office was riddled with bullets in a shooting last month. Additionally, U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon was carjacked at gunpoint in South Philadelphia in December.

“His decision to allow more and more criminals to walk free through plea deals and dismissed charges has created an environment in which Philadelphians are no longer safe in their own homes and communities,” Corman wrote.

“Considering he just hired Kellyanne Conway to run his primary campaign, nothing about Jake Corman’s stunt today is surprising,” a spokesman for Krasner said, pointing the finger of blame for the violence at the state legislature for not preventing gun violence. “They’ve created fewer sustainable jobs, deepened poverty, gutted public education, and destroyed social services.”

It is unclear if the House will act on Corman’s call to impeach Krasner, the newly re-elected progressive Democrat who won a second term last November. The House has the sole power to impeach public officials under the state constitution. Doing so requires members to draft articles of impeachment and gather evidence of Krasner’s alleged misconduct before a vote.

A majority House vote would move the case to the Senate, which requires two-thirds of members to vote for a conviction, which would result in Krasner’s removal.

It is a high bar to meet and has not happened in decades, as former state Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen was the last person convicted by the Senate in 1994, the Inquirer reported.

The Philadelphia district attorney, who is almost 30 days into his new term, has become a political punching bag for critics in light of what some felt were tone-deaf comments he made last month dismissing that the city was experiencing a “crisis of lawlessness,” Broad & Liberty reported.

“We don’t have a crisis of crime. We don’t have a crisis of violence,” Krasner said. “It’s important that we don’t let this become mushy and bleed into the notion that there is some kind of big spike in crime. There isn’t.”

Those comments drew a strong rebuke from the city’s former Black mayor, Michael Nutter, who demanded Krasner apologize to the families of the victims impacted by the violence.

“I have to wonder what kind of messed up world of White wokeness Krasner is living in to have so little regard for human lives lost, many of them Black and Brown, while he advances his own national profile as a progressive district attorney,” Nutter wrote in an editorial for the Inquirer.

Corman cited statistics in his letter claiming only about one-fifth of shootings since 2015 have led to criminal charges, with Krasner’s office securing convictions in fewer than one-tenth of those cases.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to DA Krasner’s clear dereliction of duty,” Corman wrote. “Meaningful action must be taken to restore a sense of security to the communities and families that have been negatively impacted by his negligence.”

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