Before and after being inaugurated as Philadelphia District Attorney, Mr. Larry Krasner was said by some to be soft on crime. His critics appeared to perceive his pro-justice stance – ending mass incarceration and bringing balance back to sentencing, for example – to mean he was unconcerned with victims of crime.
In fact, a common refrain from those not totally sold on the freshman DA was that his job is to, firstly, prosecute crime, not necessarily liberate the those who are imprisoned or feel aggrieved.
Mr. Krasner’s predecessor, Mr. Seth Williams, once said the job of the district attorney is two-fold: protect the innocent and prosecute the guilty. And while it’s debatable whether Mr. Williams – who’s currently serving out a five-year federal prison sentence for a charge of corruption – fulfilled that obligation, Mr. Krasner seems to be striving to do just that.
In the first four months of his term, which began in January, the Krasner Administration racked up 70 guilty verdicts and pleas, averaging out to roughly 17 a month. On Monday, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office announced the aforementioned numbers and noted that of the 85 cases the Homicide Unit has taken to court in 2018, only 12 of them resulted in a hung jury or not guilty verdict.
The comment section on a number of recent articles about Mr. Krasner displayed variations of an assertion that the DA’s office wasn’t in the business of prosecution. Mr. Krasner has repeatedly rejected that narrative. Today’s numbers will undoubtedly silence a host of critics.
In addition to successful prosecutions, the DA’s office in the first four months of 2018 has introduced many new policies, including having ADAs bring up the cost of incarceration with judges, not recommending cash bail for certain crimes and refusing to prosecute any case wherein the single charge is marijuana possession.
Mr. Krasner, a former criminal defense attorney, acquired nearly 150,000 votes in November’s 2017 General Election, which posted a 20 percent voter turnout.
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Photo courtesy of the author.