Liberal Philadelphia DA is impeached by Pennsylvania House; what are the allegations?
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The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted to impeach progressive Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner on Wednesday in a vote that largely followed party lines.
The vote was 107 to 85 in favor of impeachment, with only one Republican joining Democrats to vote no.
Krasner will be tried by the Pennsylvania Senate, which is made up of 28 Republicans and 22 Democrats following the Nov. 8 elections, according to NBC Philadelphia. Thirty-four votes would be needed to remove the district attorney.
Krasner said in a statement published by CBS News he was being impeached because lawmakers did not like his ideas. He said he was elected and reelected in two landslides, and elected officials who don’t live in Philadelphia are trying to erase the votes of Philadelphians.
“They have impeached me without presenting a single shred of evidence connecting our policies to any uptick in crime,” the statement said. “We were never given the opportunity.”
The House approved seven articles of impeachment. They allege that Krasner:
• Fired more than 30 assistant district attorneys after taking office, replacing them with attorneys who lacked meaningful prosecution experience. He also adopted polices with the aim of ending mass incarceration. They included not bringing charges for some lower-level crimes, seeking alternative sentences, and ending cash bail for many cases. The policies “have led to catastrophic consequences,” such as spikes in gun violence and homicides.
• Failed to cooperation with a House select committee investigating rising crime and Krasner’s performance as the district attorney. After the House resolved to hold Krasner in contempt, his efforts to comply with subpoenas fell short.
• Responded to a convicted murderer’s habeas petition by stating that his office would no longer seek the death penalty. A federal judge overseeing the case concluded that Krasner’s office failed to disclose the prisoner’s escape attempt and made misleading statements about communication with the victims’ family. The judge ordered Krasner to write apology letters.
• Was criticized in a concurrence for a “gratuitous narrative” in a grand jury presentment and for a “win-at-all-cost office culture” that “treats police officers differently than other criminal defendants.”
• Withheld material facts in sworn testimony before a special master considering whether Krasner had a conflict of interest favoring Black activist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted for murdering a police officer. Krasner said he never represented an “organization” that advocated for Abu-Jamal, but he failed to disclose that he represented at least one pro-Abu-Jamal activist.
• Violated victims’ rights laws by failing to contact crime victims in a timely manner, misleading victims and treating them “with contempt and disrespect.”
• Contravened legislative power by refusing to prosecute certain conduct, including prostitution, retail theft of property worth less than $500 and some drug-related offenses.
In a Nov. 16 statement after the impeachment, Miriam Krinsky, executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution, a group that focuses on organizing, training and promoting elected prosecutors, said the vote was “a dangerous abuse of power.”
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