What was that sound? Nothing less than the stirrings of a whole different kind of revolution from the city that gave America the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights — a revolution aimed at finally undoing draconian justice regime that had turned the Cradle of Liberty into a death-penalty capital and the poster child for mass incarceration.
Larry Krasner, Philadelphia’s insurgent candidate for district attorney, has built his campaign around three pledges: to end mass incarceration, to stand up for people’s rights and liberties, and to resist the Trump administration.
In Philadelphia, as in much of 2017 America, those are ambitious plans: The city has the highest incarceration rate in the Northeast and arrests twice as many people on average as other big cities.
Philadelphia also has a sordid history of police abuse and a level of official corruption that’s almost legendary — the current DA, Seth Williams, is facing 23 federal charges ranging from bribery to extortion, and is not seeking reelection.
But Krasner, who has never worked as a prosecutor, has a 30-year record showing that he’s always been committed to those promises.
BRIAN HICKEY – PHILLY VOICE
For the first time in my 17 years as a Philadelphian, I found myself unsure about my vote in an important municipal election. ... This column’s coming from the perspective of a citizen trying to figure out who’d be the best choice and – in the spirit of a nation now led by a reality-show hack who got his jollies from firing people — it didn’t take very long to eliminate a few from contention.
Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, in a memo sent to federal prosecutors on Thursday, signaled his intention to ramp up the failed, destructive law enforcement policies of the past in the war on drugs. He is instructing the prosecutors to “charge defendants with the most serious, provable crimes carrying the most severe penalties."
To return to these destructive and racist policies is a recipe for an increase in violent crime, a decrease in our ability to apprehend and convict perpetrators of those crimes, and an increase in prison population in our already over-incarcerated society.
MICHAEL COARD, ESQ. – THE PHILADELPHIA TRIBUNE
In a previous column about District Attorney candidate Larry Krasner, I quoted the following line from Jay-Z on his What More Can I Say song where he rhymed, “I’m everywhere. You ain’t never there.” He must have been rapping about Krasner compared to all the other candidates.
I guess the members of the editorial board of my beloved Philadelphia Tribune never heard that song before. And I guess they never heard about Krasner’s 30 years of experience always being everywhere as a civil rights lawyer, criminal defense attorney, and community anti-crime activist fighting for Black folks, poor folks, and all victimized and oppressed folks.
Ending mass incarceration begins at home, says Larry Krasner, a longtime civil rights attorney and leading candidate for Philadelphia District Attorney. Harsh sentencing laws passed by Congress and state legislatures set the stage for mass incarceration, and police make arrests on the streets. But it is prosecutors who decide who to charge, what to charge them with, and, in a system that often resolves cases with guilty pleas, what sentences to seek.
“The truth is that the most important thing that a district attorney can do is exercise that 700-pound hammer that is discretion,” says Krasner, who announced his candidacy surrounded by a crowd of activists that included many former clients. “As Nancy Reagan would say, ‘just say no.’”
Civil rights attorney Larry Krasner has spent his career standing up to cops. A former public defender who's no stranger to pro bono work, he's defended Black Lives Matter protesters, ACT UP alums, the Arch Street United Methodist Church pastors, Grannies for Peace, and Occupy Philly activists.
So he hardly seems like someone who'd want to assume the mantle of one of America's top prosecutor jobs—for one thing, Krasner has no formal political experience. But as he watched the usual suspects throwing their hats in the ring for Philadelphia's 2017 district attorney's race, the 56-year-old felt like it was time to try and change things from within.
Civil rights attorney Larry Krasner has picked up two more endorsements in his campaign to replace the indicted Seth Williams as Philadelphia's next district attorney. Add that to the $1.4 million independent advertising and field campaign showered on him by billionaire George Soros — and Krasner is looking more like the one to beat in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
Krasner got the backing of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity and state Sen. Vincent Hughes of West Philadelphia Thursday.
Those two endorsements, following the support he's received from influential Northwest Philadelphia Democrats two weeks ago, make it easy to overlook the nod he got Wednesday from a construction union, the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters.
Hughes said he looked the seven candidate field over and made his pick.
"It's not a knock on anyone else," Hughes said. "Thirty years of fighting for civil rights cannot be ignored. You can't just kick that to the curb."
Helen Gym, Chris Rabb, Carpenters, Black Clergy, Vincent Hughes
PHILADELPHIA – Civil rights lawyer and candidate for District Attorney Larry Krasner headed to the finish of the last full week of his campaign by collecting several highly significant endorsements, including Senator Vincent Hughes, Councilwoman Helen Gym, State Rep. Chris Rabb, the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, and the Black Clergy of Philadelphia & Vicinity.