Outrage at Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s (D) leniency toward criminals has driven Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) to call for the prosecutor’s impeachment.
Corman sent a letter to leaders of the GOP-run state House of Representatives asking them to seek Krasner’s removal. In his missive, the lawmaker deplored the city’s sharp present rise in violent crime and said the district attorney has played a major role in that spike by allowing many offenders to escape punishment.
The senator, who is also running for governor, cited Philadelphia’s all-time record of 562 homicides last year. In 2017, the year before Krasner took office, the locality experienced 315 homicides, a number that has climbed every year he has been on the job. Not yet a month into 2022, the City of Brotherly Love has seen 30 murders this year, putting it on track to far surpass last year’s sad total.
Corman furthermore noted that, despite an uptick in arrests for violent firearm offenses under Krasner’s tenure, municipal prosecutors have increasingly declined to pursue charges for those crimes. One high-profile example is 17-year-old Latif Williams, who turned himself in last month for shooting Temple University student Samuel Collington to death as the former attempted to steal the victim’s car. In the months before Collington’s murder, Krasner declined to pursue numerous charges for which Williams was arrested, including aggravated assault, unlicensed possession of a gun and carjacking.
Auto thefts are themselves rising acutely, with 757 occurring in 2021, 34 percent more than were committed the previous year.
“The recent spike in violent crime is a direct result of DA Krasner’s failed policies and his refusal to perform the duties of his office to hold criminals accountable for the crimes that they commit,” Corman wrote to House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Quarryville), Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Bellefonte) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Rob Kauffman (R-Chambersburg). 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.”
The Senate President Pro Tempore observed that two recent, high-profile incidents of violent crime in the city have affected elected officials: Last July, State Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) lost his cousin to homicide and, in December, Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA-5) was carjacked at gunpoint.
Corman also denounced Krasner for insisting last month that “we don’t have a crisis of crime,” a remark the prosecutor later recanted as “inarticulate.”
“Despite the recent crime wave, DA Krasner has not accepted responsibility for his failure to prosecute criminals, nor has he taken any new steps to keep dangerous criminals behind bars,” the senator wrote. “As recently as last month, he shockingly insisted at a press conference that the city did not have a crisis of lawlessness…. As elected officials of this Commonwealth, we cannot turn a blind eye to DA Krasner’s clear dereliction of duty. Meaningful action must be taken to restore a sense of security to the communities and families that have been negatively impacted by his negligence.”
Krasner’s office fired back at Corman, faulting him with guilt by association (“he just hired [former Trump advisor] Kellyanne Conway to run his primary campaign”), racism (“true justice means… not just punishment for Black and brown people”) and nepotism (“he inherited [his Senate seat] from his father”). The statement also vaunted Krasner’s 2021 reelection victory, bragging that he “trounced his primary opponent 2 to 1 and spanked his Republican opponent 3 to 1.”
When Krasner first ran for district attorney in 2017, his progressive orientation and hostility to the police attracted the backing of far-left billionaire George Soros, who donated nearly $1.7 million to his primary campaign against six other Democrats. Krasner went on to defeat Republican Beth Grossman that November and, last year, to win reelection against primary challenger Carlos Vega and Republican Chuck Peruto.
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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Pennsylvania Daily Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Jake Corman” by Jake Corman. Photo “Larry Krasner” by Larry Krasner.