The Philadelphia DA’s impeachment trial is the latest move by the GOP targeting reformer prosecutors

The impeachment of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner by the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania House of Representatives last week has sparked one of the highest-profile battles yet between reformist prosecutors and their conservative opponents.

If Republicans are successful in their efforts to remove Krasner, they would eliminate one of the most high-profile and aggressive members in a wave of reformer district attorneys elected in the last five years. But if Krasner survives, it will only further cement the twice-elected prosecutor’s reputation and mandate.

The Pennsylvania House last week voted 107-85 along the party line to impeach Krasner. Pennsylvania Republicans blamed Krasner’s policies for leading to the horrific rise in gun violence and murders in Philadelphia. “His lack of proper leadership is a direct and proximate cause of the crisis currently facing the city of Philadelphia,” he said house clearance calls for Krasner’s impeachment, says.

The House of Representatives will now refer the charges to the State Senate, where a two-thirds majority after a trial would be required to remove Krasner from office. However, Republicans only control 28 of 50 seats.

Krasner stopped press conference today, flanked by city council members and local activists defending his record and attacking the impeachment vote. “What you’re seeing is the MAGA wing of the Republican Party acknowledging that they can’t win elections against criminal justice reform because that’s what the people want,” Krasner said.

The impeachment is the latest move by Republican lawmakers and governors against elected prosecutors they see as too soft on crime. This summer, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis AWAY Tampa Bay District Attorney Andrew Warren accused him of dereliction of duty for refusing to prosecute some low-level crimes and said he will not face charges for violations of Florida’s new laws prohibiting abortion and transitional care restrict for transgender minors. In Virginia Republican Legislature tried and failed to pass a law targeting progressive prosecutors that would have allowed the attorney general to take on violent crime cases.

That New York Post Editorial somewhat bizarre characterized the vote to impeach Krasner as part of a “revolt against woke DAs” as if orchestrated by ordinary Philadelphians rather than a state GOP that just lost its majority in the House of Representatives.

in one press releaseKrasner said Republican lawmakers impeached him “without presenting a single piece of evidence linking our policies to a rise in crime.”

As Krasner, a longtime civil rights and criminal defense attorney, announced his candidacy for the Philadelphia District Attorney in 2017, the local police union called it “hilariousThey stopped laughing after he won the Democratic primary, thanks in part to generous funding from a super PAC linked to liberal mega-donor George Soros.

After Krasner won the parliamentary elections with aplomb, he dismissed around 30 public prosecutors. He ended bail for many minor crimes and dropped prosecution of some offenses like marijuana possession altogether. He also established a conviction review unit and began working to overturn old convictions tainted with misconduct and shoddy work.

But nothing enraged police unions more than his prosecution of police officers for excessive force, something virtually unknown in Philadelphia before he took office. Krasner’s office brought charges of murder against three officers for three fatal shootings, and in September his office obtained the first murder conviction of a Philadelphia police officer on duty in 44 years.

The rise in violent crime seemed to create political headwinds for Krasner, but despite the efforts of Republicans and police unions, he drove to reelection in 2021 with 69 percent of the vote.

While Krasner is an easy target for Republicans looking for culprits, less attention has been paid to the Philadelphia Police Department’s blunders.

An audit last year by the Philadelphia City Controller reported that the city’s police department was appallingly disorganized, wasteful, and ineffective. Among the findings: Between 2016 and 2020, the department had the lowest homicide investigation rate among the country’s 10 largest cities, despite its budget skyrocketing over the same period.

The Pennsylvania House Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order, created to investigate the rise in violent crime in Krasner and Philadelphia, issued a report in October it was found that “an astounding 81% of non-fatal shootings and 61.5% of fatal shootings resulted in no arrests,” a failure the committee attributes to staff shortages.