OPINION: Philadelphia Families Pay The Price For Their Liberal District Attorney


Alex Titus Contributor
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Philadelphia’s District Attorney Larry Krasner thinks that victims of crime should have a price tag. And that price tag wasn’t very high for Sean Schellenger, a former Penn State quarterback and Philadelphia resident who was recently murdered in a road rage altercation. Prosecutors attempted to pursue 1st degree murder but were ordered to stand down by Krasner, who lowered the charges to manslaughter and gave the suspect bail. Sean’s mother, Linda, blasted Krasner claiming he “manipulated” her and “overruled his own prosecutors.”

Shockingly, the Schellenger case is just the tip of the iceberg. Krasner’s resume shows a progressive icon who has made a career of undermining the rule of law. Cheerleaders claim he is a reform-minded criminal justice guru seeking to foster a more just system. But make no mistake: Krasner is embarking on a radical agenda that will make Philadelphia a safe haven for criminals.

Krasner has become the golden boy for a growing weak on crime lobby bent on upending decades of sound law enforcement policies. He’s built a national following and even scored profiles from major media outlets like the New York TimesThe Nation, and The Atlantic. Liberal sugar daddy George Soros pitched in a whopping$1.7 million to support his election.

Even prior to his national bona fides, Krasner made quite a name for himself in Philadelphia. He was the go-to legal counsel for a number of hardline protestors like Occupy Wall Street. He made a career of demonizing law enforcement and filed an astounding 75 lawsuits against police officers.

In 2017, Krasner would go on to declare his candidacy for District Attorney of Philadelphia – facing intense opposition from moderates and center-left politicians from the onset. Several respected former local prosecutors penned an open letter before the primary date declaring him “a radical candidate” and “dangerous to the city.” John McNesby, president of the largest police union in Philadelphia called his candidacy “hilarious.”

But no one was laughing after Krasner comfortably slid through the primary and general election to victory.

Krasner quickly grabbed the driver’s wheel and began implementing his dangerous agenda. To start, Krasner nixed 31 prosecutors and slashed one-third of the city’s homicide prosecutors, labeling it “a necessary shake-up.” This comes despite Philadelphia having one of the highest murder rates in the country.

Lawlessness has also received a rubber stamp in the name of harm reduction. Krasner has promised not to go after organizations or individuals that open up ‘safe’ injection sites, which are state-endorsed shoot-up galleries for drug addicts. These sites, illegal in nature, require no restrictions on who can use and when.

Krasner’s seems to not see it as an issue if a teenager wants to try Fentanyl for the first time — as long as they’re in the ‘safe’ site. Not to mention that these sites normalize drug use and studies show little evidence that they lead addicts into treatment.

In lieu of a crack down on rampant crime, Krasner has decided to crack down on his own attorneys. In a February 2018 memo, the DA laid out a policy that each prosecutor would be held accountable to weigh the financial burden of jail against the benefit of locking up offenders.

Weak sentencing guidelines have been a powerful tool for Krasner to advance his agenda. In a memo to staff, he ordered his attorneys to pursue plea offers below those recommended by state guidelines. “Bringing back balance to sentencing” seems to be little more than a wink and nod to petty criminals.

In addition to the Schellenger case, “balanced sentencing” has benefited other killers at the expense of victims. Take the case of Joseph Howanski, for example, who gunned down 21-year-old Merlos Mukaj after interfering in an argument between Mukaj and his girlfriend last November.

Krasner ordered Howanski’s charges dropped from 1st to 3rd degree murder overturning the previous DA’s recommendation. Howanski, will now potentially serve only six-years instead of life behind bars. Unsurprisingly, Officer McNesby noted to me in a statement that Krasner has “failed countless crime victims across Philadelphia.”

So, why does Krasner seemingly want to dismantle Philadelphia’s capacity to disarm and jail dangerous criminals? It stems from his radical hatred of prosecutors who Krasner sees as “retributive” and “connected to the worst elements of policing” — two lines he frequently stumps in speeches. Prosecutors aren’t public servants helping victims obtain justice, but pawns of a stacked system.

It’s unsurprising that in Krasner’s Philadelphia, victims and the rule of law are put to the wayside while the interests of criminals are put first. The DA seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding about being the role of top cop. Or maybe not — considering the chant at his campaign headquarters on Election Day was “f**k the police!” Fringe groups may be pleased with Krasner’s radical agenda. But it’s Philadelphia families who will pay the price.

Alex Titus (@ATitus7) is a Public Interest Fellow in Washington, D.C. The Public Interest Fellowship provides exceptional men and women with professional opportunities in the tradition of freedom.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.