I am Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner’s #1 Fan

Krasner is shaking it up, and he isn’t doing it quietly. He’s quite bold. He’s created a somewhat of a ruckus, even making the Judges nervous at times…..

Philadelphia has never seen anything like it before.

His target: Criminal Justice Reform. He fought this system for years as a defense attorney, in literal trenches of defending some pretty serious and not so serious crimes. It was a system he made a career out of fighting, and now he is in charge of it.

Here are some recent Krasner actions:

  • He would like to do away with the bail system. He seems to find it racist and economically stratifying. People with money can afford to pay bail, while people without money sit in jail till their preliminary hearings. Bail is set in consideration of the type of crime committed, with sheer disregard as to the inmate’s ability to pay. The result? Minority people from impoverished neighborhoods sit in jail for the same crimes white men from wealthy neighborhoods can easily make bail for.

 

  • He is changing policy. The requirement for all Assistant District Attorneys in Philadelphia is now to explain to the judge and jury how much taxpayer money will be spent on incarcerating inmates. The ultimate goal is to reduce the epidemic of mass incarceration by explaining the cost. A sort of cost vs. risk analysis, targeting those conservative republicans on the jury and on the bench, who tend to be fiscally conscience.

 

  • Krasner’s lawyers are also now to decline charges for marijuana possession, no matter the weight, effectively decriminalizing possession of the drug in the city for all nonfederal cases. Sex workers will not be charged with prostitution unless they have more than two priors, in which case they’ll be diverted to a specialized court. Retail theft under $500 is no longer a misdemeanor in the eyes of Philly prosecutors, but a summary offense—the lowest possible criminal charge. And when ADAs give probation charges they are to opt for the lower end of the possible spectrum. “Criminological studies show that most violations of probation occur within the first 12 months,” the memo reads, “Assuming that a defendant is violation free for 12 months, any remaining probation is simply excess baggage requiring unnecessary expenditure of funds for supervision.” When a person does break the rules of probation, minor infractions such as missing a PO meeting are not to be punished with jail time or probation revocation, and more serious infractions are to be disciplined with no more than two years in jail. –The Philadelphia Inquirer : CITATION

 

  • He is sick of cops lying on the stand. “Testilying”, or so it’s called, the New York Times did an awesome story on this. It’s a widespread problem in New York, as I am sure it is in Philadelphia. Cops dodging illegal search and seizure laws now fabricate reasons they did the searches and seizures. “The drugs were in plain sight,” or “the car stank like marijuana so we searched it.” The New York City DA has caught cops in lies after lies, there are more suppression hearings in 2018 than there have been in the history of New York. One cop remarked, “It’s not really lying, we are just taking the truth and stretching it a little.” Krasner is unmoved and frankly annoyed. He has made a public “do not call list”, essentially a black list containing names of cops who were busted lying on the stand. He released it to the press, a sort of public shaming.

 

  • The most significant and groundbreaking reform is how he has instructed assistant district attorneys to wield their most powerful tool: plea offers. Over 90 percent of criminal cases nationwide are decided in plea bargains, a system which has been broken beyond repair by mandatory minimum sentences and standardized prosecutorial excess. In an about-face from how these transactions typically work, Krasner’s 300 lawyers are to start many plea offers at the low end of sentencing guidelines. For most nonviolent and nonsexual crimes, or economic crimes below a $50,000 threshold, Krasner’s lawyers are now to offer defendants sentences below the bottom end of the state’s guidelines. So, for example, if a person with no prior convictions is accused of breaking into a store at night and emptying the cash register, he would normally face up to 14 months in jail. Under Krasner’s paradigm, he’ll be offered probation. If prosecutors want to use their discretion to deviate from these guidelines, say if a person has a particularly troubling rap sheet, Krasner must personally sign off. –The Philadelphia Inquirer: CITATION 

 

  • While Donald Trump is pressing for longer sentences for opioid dealers and addicts, including even the death sentence. Krasner put up his middle finger and went the opposite direction. He wants less opioid addicts in jail, and more in treatment or drug court. He cites a concern for mass incarceration, and believes the addicted are not “recovering” in jail. The Clintons tried to jail their way out of the drug epidemic in the 1990s. They did exactly what Trump is doing, pushing for mandatory minimums and fighting to incarcerate the sick. Krasner believes it’s ineffective and also a waste of tax dollars. Finally a lawyer with some common sense. The program is called PAD:

 

  • Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Police Commissioner Richard Ross, District Attorney Larry Krasner, City Council President Darrell Clarke and Councilman Curtis Jones gathered at Philadelphia Recovery Community Center in North Philly Friday morning to announce the Police-Assisted Diversion, or PAD, plan.

    City leaders say that funneling more drug users into PAD — “a way to divert eligible participants from unnecessary incarceration” — will help to further reduce the jailed population. The PAD program allows police officers to redirect low-level offenders involved in drugs and prostitution access to community-based initiatives and social service instead of prosecution and jail. –The Philadelphia Inquirer: CITATION

The program works directly with the police force, as Krasner is also taking a hands on approach with Law Enforcement. With Krasner, you are in or you are out as a cop. You are out if you lie on the stand, you will be publicly shamed and added to a list. You are out if you engage in any sort of police misconduct, or conduct unbecoming as an officer of the law. This includes racist social media posts, which he will also out you for, as well as publicly shame you.

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Krasner isn’t out to alienate members of law enforcement, he is out to get a wayward good-old-boy fleet of law enforcement under control. The idea is to protect and SERVE. Misbehavior isn’t tolerated. While Krasner can’t fire cops, he can certainly shame them, embarrass them and black list them when they misbehave.

Krasner is truly a force to be reckoned with. He is unapologetic with the bold changes he is making in office. He is saucy to some extent, sardonic and tough talking, and he don’t take any sh*t from anyone.

But it’s less about the bravado and more about the intense changes he is making, changes that seem to be making a number of Philadelphia citizens quite nervous. But people forget that Krasner has been entrenched in this system for years, and knows it better than any armchair critic. He knows it inside and out, and he knows exactly what he wants done.

The power? Well it hasn’t gone to his head. He is pragmatic, hands on, and -unlike Josh Shapiro – he drives his own damn self to work. I would argue that Krasner is well ahead of his time, and likely one of the best DA’s in the country. I don’t think Krasner has any higher political dreams, he is more focused on the work at hand. But that said, I could see Krasner in the white house long before that toolbag Josh Shapiro. Shapiro’s been a waste of space, it’s nice to see a lawyer in Philadelphia finally making some true meaningful changes. And no matter how much criticism he seems to be garnishing with his controversial changes in policy, Krasner cares not. I love that.

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