Progressive DA Larry Krasner's office in chaos after 261 attorneys quit during his first term

Progressive DA Larry Krasner's office in chaos after 261 attorneys quit during his first term
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

As you may have heard, shootings and murders are up around the country. That’s especially true in Philadelphia which had already recorded more murders this year than either New York City or Los Angeles. Progressive DA Larry Krasner’s response to that spike in violence has been denial. “We don’t have a crisis of lawlessness, we don’t have a crisis of crime, we don’t have a crisis of violence,” Krasner said earlier this month.

Today, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports Krasner’s office is in chaos after 261 attorneys have decided they’d had enough of working there and quit. That’s out of an office of about 340 lawyers.

Although the office, which employs about 340 lawyers, has been hiring to offset the losses, the churn is affecting its ability to manage its caseload, according to 19 current and former DA’s Office staffers who spoke with The Inquirer…
Some who have stayed described plummeting office morale.

“I joined this office for a reason. I came to Philly to work for Krasner, because I believed in what he was trying to do,” said one current staffer who is actively searching for a new job and, like some others interviewed for this story, asked not to be identified out of fear of professional retribution. “I feel betrayed a lot by this office and the promises of what I thought this job was going to be.”

That chaos is evident in the office’s record of closing cases. Over the past year 73% of the 21,000 cases the office has handled were withdrawn by prosecutors or dismissed by a judge. That’s compared to 36% of cases that were withdrawn or dismissed in 2017 before Krasner took over.

“The DA’s Office is completely ill-equipped to prosecute serious cases outside a handful of prosecutors. They don’t have the experience. They don’t have the talent, and they don’t have the numbers to prosecute all the cases they need to,” said Shuaiyb Newton, a former homicide prosecutor…

“He wasn’t really trying to prosecute. He was trying to indoctrinate,” said Newton, who was initially intrigued by Krasner’s pitch for more equitable justice in communities like North Philadelphia, where Newton grew up. By the time he quit in 2020, he said, he came to believe Krasner was more interested in protecting defendants than crime victims and everyday citizens. “He would hire people that didn’t think anybody belonged in jail at all. Why are you a prosecutor? He hired people who would cry after convicting someone.”

The result of all of the turnover is that 60% of the lawyers currently working in the office were hired in the past four years and many of those were fresh out of law school with little experience. The Inquirer reports that 2/3 of the lawyers in the Major Crimes squad, handling the worst offenses in the city, were admitted to the state bar within the past five years.

Krasner says he’s making changes to deal with the problems and claims the staff turnover in his office isn’t unusual. Meanwhile, a Democratic congress woman was carjacked in Philadelphia today. What is it they say? A conservative is just a liberal who has been mugged. I wonder if Rep. Scanlon feels any differently today.

Philly Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement saying in part, ” It’s disheartening, and quite frankly infuriating, that criminals feel emboldened to commit such a reckless crime in the middle of the day in what should be a place of tranquility and peace—one of Philadelphia’s beautiful parks.”

At some point, residents of the city may decide the experiment with progressive prosecutors who cry when they convict someone isn’t working out so well.

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