Philadelphia Bar Association forum (video)

Krasner: "What we've seen has been a radical experiment in over-prosecution, over-incarceration and systemic racism...we are not safer, and it is not just."

The two candidates for Philadelphia district attorney, Beth Grossman and Larry Krasner, presented their cases at a Community Forum hosted by the Philadelphia Bar Association on Tuesday, Sept. 26, the first of several times they will meet during the fall 2017 general election campaign.

The event was introduced by Chancellor Deborah R. Gross. The moderator was Charles Gibbs, president of the Barristers' Association of Philadelphia.

(58 minutes)

Supervised Injection Facilities: It’s Time

The opioid crisis is ravaging our city. Every week, even every day, brings new stories about how this epidemic is destroying not only people who are addicted, but also their families and communities. Children in hard-hit Philadelphia neighborhoods have to step over dirty needles in parks and playgrounds. Last year, we saw 900 overdose deaths, and but for the heroic efforts of our first responders — as well as librarians, outreach workers, and other drug users — there would have been many more.

The opioid crisis is an urgent matter of public health that has direct impact on public safety. It is fundamentally immoral to stand by while needles are shared and lives are lost when that is preventable. As District Attorney, I will use discretion in charging, I will use the bully pulpit to reduce harm and save lives, and I will support properly run and appropriately located supervised injection facilities.

Larry Krasner speaks out on Charlottesville

"You are having a beautiful gathering here, for all kinds of people. But there's something different that's happening in Charlottesville, Virginia today ... there's a whole bunch of people marching down there with torches, and there's whole bunch of people marching with signs that say 'white supremacy,' with pro Ku Klux Klan signs, with signs that express their hatred for people who are different than them — black people, Jewish people, people from other countries.

"And it got even uglier today. Because people who care about this issue went up against them, protested against them, and one of them is now dead, and 19 of them are now severely injured, because someone took a gray Dodge Charger and drove it at 40 miles an hour into that crowd. 
Free speech is not enough for that kind of person, what they want is violence and what they want is death. They want what they have always wanted — and most importantly, make no mistake, along with their torches, along with their signs expressing their hatred, they were carrying signs that said 'Donald Trump.'

"When Donald Trump was asked what he thought about this today, he said he was worried about the hatred on all sides. Well I don't know what other sides he's talking about. You got one side that runs people over in cars, that carries torches, that advocates the death of people that look different than them, and then you've got some people who are opposed to that. Being opposed to that is not hate. That is love. And that's what I see when I look out at you."

— At the 5th Annual Soul School Festival, hosted by State Rep. Jordan Harris.

Larry Krasner: Proposed Medicaid cuts could force people into criminal justice system


We are all familiar with the Declaration of Independence, which asserts that each of us has certain unalienable rights, among them “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In the name of health-care reform, politicians in Washington and Harrisburg threaten the first and most foundational of these individual rights: life itself. Their legislative agenda — curtailing important Obamacare protections and cutting back on Medicaid — threatens the lives of tens of thousands of Philadelphians.

It also jeopardizes public safety. When people are faced with chronic health problems or a life-threatening situation involving a family member, and have no options or support, they will act in desperation. When people are unable to afford treatment for behavioral health issues because they lack insurance, the criminal justice system often becomes the only societal structure that intervenes.


Standing up for Philly’s environmental rights in the age of Trump



When people think about a “district attorney” they often think of someone who prosecutes crimes against people and property, and hopefully of someone who protects the rights of crime survivors and the accused alike. I also believe, as a candidate for district attorney, that it should be the DA’s job to use the law to treat substance abuse and mental illness as a public health crisis rather than a crime, and to punish illegal business practices.

In addition—and this may be something you haven’t heard from a local DA candidate before—I believe it’s also critical to use the office to protect our environment.

All of these issues are interconnected, much like an ecosystem. When we fail to seek justice in one, the rest suffer. This is why prosecutors must approach equal justice in a holistic manner. If elected, I plan to protect the environment and pursue environmental justice for the people of Philadelphia—especially for our children. 

... crimes against the environment not only threaten public health, but violate our civil rights, too. I look forward to building coalitions with community advocates and other local and state partners, such as Pennsylvania’s attorney general, to fearlessly tackle these urgent challenges.

Full article in GRID MAGAZINE

Sessions’ New War on Drugs is a War on Both Common Sense and Safety

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.

What's Better for Teachers is Better for Our City

Philadelphia’s public school teachers have been fighting for a fair contract for far too long. I stand in solidarity with them.

While teachers work without a contract, we are misallocating enormous sums to keep thousands of people in jail who aren’t violent criminals or serious repeat offenders. It costs $40,000 a year per inmate. That’s nearly a starting teacher’s salary.

The city also paid out $12.8 million in lawsuit settlements for police misconduct in 2016 — a fairly typical year. If not for these payouts, we could hire well over 200 more teachers, or raise pay and benefits to retain the ones we have.

If our justice system in Philadelphia didn't hold thousands of in jail solely because they cannot afford bail while awaiting trial, we might well be able to reach a contract with our public school teachers.

We’re driving some of our best teachers away by depriving them the security of a fair contract, and packing our kids into overcrowded classrooms. At the same time we waste millions on over-imprisonment. Better schools lead to reduced crime, a safer city, and a stronger tax base to support even better schools.

Teachers are some of the most overworked and underpaid public servants in our community. They hold our children’s future in their hands. As a product of public schools, I support our teachers demanding an equitable contract.

Show us the video: No backsliding on police accountability

Once again, Harrisburg legislators are pushing a bill that would damage the relationship between police officers and the communities they serve. On Friday, the ACLU detailed how Senate Bill 560 would prevent access to police body-worn camera footage through our state’s Right-to-Know Law.

This is footage of activity in public where we are entitled to be, taken by law enforcement officers who we pay to protect us, while they're on duty. It defies reason that footage from these cameras, which have been heralded as a major development in police transparency, should suddenly be hidden from the public