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Pennsylvania Senate Essentially Ends Impeachment of Philadephia DA; Postpones Trial Indefinitely

The Pennsylvania Senate essentially ended the impeachment trial of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner on Wednesday with a 28–20 vote to postpone indefinitely. Because it is postponed, the Senate could take it up again, but in the halls of the Capitol in Harrisburg, the appetite for impeachment among leadership is waning.

Wednesday’s decision could be appealed to the state Supreme Court, but the mostly Democrat Court is unlikely to change the decision.

Krasner—a Democrat whose campaign was funded in part by billionaire George Soros—was accused of declining to prosecute many drug, theft, and prostitution cases and implementing bail policies that quickly put violent offenders back on the street, often to offend again.

The impeachment trial, which was brought by the House and would have been managed by the Senate, was supposed to consider removing Krasner from his elected office.

Statistics show that gun crimes and homicides are up in Philadelphia, and 992 people died by homicide in Philadelphia between Jan. 1, 2021, and Oct. 16, 2022, according to a report about crime in the city.

Krasner on Crime

“Those who voted for impeachment in the House latched onto a serious subject—gun violence—with an unserious, unconstitutional, and anti-democratic approach: impeachment of a democratically elected official for his ideas and policies,” Krasner posted on Twitter in late December in response to the impeachment.

He touted the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Gun Violence Task Force in a press release in December. The task force, made up of police officers, state agents, and county prosecutors, was awarded $20 million for technological and forensic modernization and upgrades from the Pennsylvania Gun Violence Investigation and Prosecution grant program.

Also in December, Krasner announced the launch of a new unit within the district attorney’s office focusing on holding individuals who commit carjackings accountable. As of September, there had been 1,000 carjackings in the city according to Philadelphia Police Department data.

After homicide and shooting victims, carjacking is the third most prevalent crime happening nation-wide, Philadelphia Police Inspector Charles Layton said in a press release announcing the Carjacking Enforcement Unit.

In November, state Rep. Bryan Cutler, then Speaker of the House, spoke in the chamber about why increased crime in Philadelphia matters to the entire state.

“The district attorney is currently acting in a legislative capacity by simply declaring entire sections of law void. Nonprosecutable. Will not go after that,” Cutler said. “Why is that important? Because they are the laws of the Commonwealth, duly passed, and signed into law by this chamber, the Senate, and the governor.”

In Philadelphia, the rate of dismissal of cases is much higher than in all other counties in Pennsylvania, he said, noting that the high rate of people dying in Philadelphia is the business of the Legislature.

“What is going on right now in the city … does, in fact, impact all of us,” Cutler said. “It is literally the heart and soul, the economic driver of our Commonwealth. That matters. It is a huge portion of the tax base. But when you have people who are fearful to go into the city to work, to recreate, to visit family … where does that leave us?”

Beth Brelje
Beth Brelje is a national, investigative journalist covering politics, wrongdoing, and the stories of everyday people facing extraordinary circumstances. Send her your story ideas:

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