On Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Larry Krasner was sworn in as the 26th District Attorney of Philadelphia. He is introduced by the Rev. Isaac Miller and then makes his inaugural remarks as DA.
BY CHRIS BRENNAN AND AUBREY WHELAN – THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
Larry Krasner was elected Philadelphia district attorney on Tuesday, capping a once-improbable campaign to be the city’s top prosecutor and amid signals that he would bring significant, if not drastic, changes to the office.
A longtime defense lawyer, the Democrat won despite lacking political or prosecutorial experience and, at least early in the race, establishment support. But he rode the financial backing of one of his party’s most progressive billionaires, and benefited from a fractured field of opponents.
His last challenger, Republican Beth Grossman, proved to be slightly more formidable than some of her party’s predecessors in a city dominated by Democrats. But Grossman failed Tuesday to convince enough voters that her 21 years as an assistant district attorney made her the better choice.
The Associated Press proclaimed Krasner the winner just after 9 p.m. With nearly 98 percent of the votes counted, he had outpaced her by a 3-1 ratio, unofficial returns showed.
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BY MAURA EWING – THE ATLANTIC
PHILADELPHIA—When civil-rights attorney Larry Krasner won the Democratic primary for district attorney here last spring, it made national headlines—not because he won with a large margin, which he did, but because in a race crowded with progressives, he stood distinctly in left field.
Krasner was the outsider candidate, offering voters zero experience as a prosecutor. As a defense attorney, he sued the Philadelphia Police Department dozens of times and represented Occupy and Black Lives Matter activists pro bono. And while his primary opponents were reformers, too, only he had spent decades litigating against the office all were vying to lead. Put simply: “I’ve spent a career becoming completely unelectable,” as Krasner joked at a recent debate.
Come Tuesday, Krasner will see just how electable he really is when he faces off against Republican Beth Grossman in the city’s municipal elections. But the rest of the country may learn something, too. The DA race is being watched as a potential bellwether among political organizers, analysts, and pundits trying to gauge voter appetite for progressive candidates in the era of President Trump.
Full story at theatlantic.com
BY AMY V. SIMMONS – THE PHILADELPHIA SUNDAY SUN
In a few days, Philadelphia selects its next district attorney.
The City’s next DA not only has to grapple with a demoralized staff and a skeptical public, but also with a myriad of criminal justice policy issues and questionable practices that still need to be addressed.
During one of many campaign events held over the last few weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election — a Q &A session entitled “Meet a Candidate: A Conversation with Larry Krasner” — voters were given a chance to ask questions and voice their concerns.
The event — held at the Arch Street United Methodist Church in Center City — was sponsored by Huddle Up Philly, Millennials in Action, My Family Votes, Philly Up, Philly Women Rally, Inc., POWER, The People United USA, Women in POWER, and many other organizations.
Organizers of the event invited both DA candidates to participate. Although both candidates accepted the invitation to speak, Republican candidate Beth Grossman had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict.
In his opening statement, Krasner said that last spring’s primary was an “election by movement.”
BY HARRISON JACOBS – BUSINESS INSIDER
Civil rights attorney Larry Krasner has always been obsessed with what it takes to make change. At the age of 11, he got into a debate with his Sunday School teacher about whether it was right to break the law for the greater good. The two were arguing over the Civil Rights movement and protests over the Vietnam War — events that shaped his life and perspective.
Today, Krasner is running for district attorney of Philadelphia, a powerful position in a city with the highest rate of incarceration of the US's 10 most populated cities.
At 56, he is pursuing elected office for the first time after a 30-year career defending radical activist groups like Black Lives Matter and Occupy Philadelphia. He's also sued police for civil rights violations more than 75 times. ...
Krasner, well-dressed in a sharply cut blue suit, tinted horn-rimmed glasses, and a well-kempt head of silvery hair, doesn't look the part of a political outsider.
With his raspy but measured speech, he could pass for a senator in a liberal state. But make no mistake, Krasner may be the most progressive candidate for such a major office in years. The center of his campaign platform is ending "mass incarceration," the constellation of state and federal policies that have put more than 2 million Americans behind bars.
BY TOM WARING — THE NORTHEAST TIMES
Democrat Larry Krasner and Republic Beth Grossman debated at Cottage Green before next week’s election.
A pretty good crowd turned out last week at the Cottage Green to hear the two candidates for district attorney outline their platforms.
The Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Northeast Victim Service and the Northeast Times sponsored the debate, which consisted of opening and closing statements and questions from a moderator. The city election commissioners’ office had a resource table and brought a voting machine for guests to view.
Democrat Larry Krasner and Republican Beth Grossman squared off on the evening of Oct. 25. ...During the debate, Krasner cited his representation of more than 10,000 clients. He described himself as a “change-maker” and gladly accepts the title of outsider, adding that Grossman will merely “tweak” the system. He wants the city to close what he calls the “antiquated” House of Correction.
“I have 30 years in court. That’s a lot of experience,” he said. “That’s how real change happens, a transformational change.”
BY JON MARKS – THE JEWISH EXPONENT
Larry Krasner doesn’t believe the fact that he’s never prosecuted a case in his 30-year career is a negative, or something that would prevent him from doing a good job as Philadelphia’s next district attorney.
In fact, considering the way things have gone in that office of late, culminating with former DA Seth Williams stepping down, pleading guilty to charges of accepting a bribe and receiving a five-year prison term, it might be a positive.
“In some ways, I feel it’s like the person who twice crashed your car coming back to you asking for your keys,” said Krasner, who’s spent his career as a defense attorney. “When you say, ‘Why should I give you my keys?’ they say, ‘Because I’m an experienced driver.’ So to those who say I’ve never been a prosecutor, that’s correct. It’s also true that the prosecutors we’ve had and those trained in the current culture of the DA’s office have been part of problems we’re trying to fix. This DA’s office has considerable problems and gets a bad report card.”
POR EDWIN LÓPEZ MOYA – AL DÍA
A dos semanas de la jornada de elecciones generales, los candidatos a ocupar la silla del Fiscal Distrital destapan sus cartas. ¿A quién elegirá Filadelfia?
El próximo 7 de noviembre, Filadelfia acudirá a las urnas con el fin de elegir a nueve jueces de la Corte de Primera Instancia del Condado (Court of Common Pleas), dos para la Corte Municipal, el controlador y el o la fiscal distrital.
Uno de los cargos más taquilleros es precisamente el último. No solo porque, con un presupuesto de $36 millones y una planta de 600 funcionarios, la Fiscalía Distrital de Filadelfia es el órgano procesal más grande de Pensilvania (investiga más de 50.000 casos anuales), también porque es visto como un trampolín para saltar a la arena política — o a la cárcel, en el caso de Seth Williams. ...
Krasner afirma que todos sus objetivos se interrelacionan y que la mejor manera de articularlos es a través de un cambio cultural en la manera como los fiscales investigan y procesan los delitos en Filadelfia.
“Un aspecto fundamental de ese cambio es entender que cuando uno hace un juramento para hacer justicia tiene que entenderla, no en términos matemáticos de maximizar condenas, sino en términos de costos, beneficios y efectividad de esa labor”, afirma.
Krasner se refiere a la implementación de una justicia quizá mucho más amplia que el alcance de las competencias del Fiscal Distrital; una justicia social que, sin embargo, pasa por aplicar un enfoque humano que valore el contexto socioeconómico de los procesados, y alternativo, que mantenga al mayor número posible de personas fuera de las cárceles.
BY SAMARIA BAILEY – THE PHILADELPHIA TRIBUNE
The Center City Residents Association (CCRA) hosted a district attorney’s debate at the Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel synagogue on Tuesday evening.
Democratic candidate Larry Krasner and Republican candidate Beth Grossman answered an hour’s worth of questions on a range of issues from death penalty stances to enhancing diversionary programs.
“The ideal is that the right candidate wins ... that the office of the district attorney gets to the point where there is a little bit more trust and that there's the right philosophies. They set the tone for all the social concerns for the city and the way that goes is really a heavy responsibility,” said Harvey C. Sacks, CCRA Vice President for Government Relations.
BY DAVE DAVIES – WHYY
Philadelphia’s two candidates for district attorney traded verbal shots at a debate last night sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Committee of 70 at La Salle University.
Republican Beth Grossman touted her 21 years working in the DA’s office and took aim at Democrat Larry Krasner’s 30 years as a criminal defense attorney who often defended protesters and sued the police for alleged misconduct.
“You’ve spent your career defending those who have taken the lives of people by gun violence,” Grossman told Krasner at one point. “I hate to tell you, but the role of the DA’s office is [that] you have to prosecute.”
Krasner countered that Grossman’s experience was in a DA’s office that has gone in the wrong direction for decades.
“We’ve had a radical experiment in over-arresting, over-charging, over-prosecuting, over-convicting and over-sentencing,” Krasner said. “This system has broken people, broken families and broken employment for so many young people. It’s gotten us to a system that is neither safe, nor just.”
The two agreed on several things, such as decriminalizing marijuana and reducing reliance on cash bail, but they differed sharply on other issues.
Krasner cited the controversial civil forfeiture program, in which the DA’s office seizes property from people suspected of benefiting from the drug trade.
“They had over 1,000 houses, 3,000 cars and over $45 million taken from them very, very often when they were not even charged with anything and for no good reason,” Krasner said. “That is corruption.”