Krasner at Tax March Philly: Stand up for your rights!

Civil rights lawyer (and candidate for Philadelphia District Attorney) Larry Krasner speaks at Tax March Philly. This is what it would mean to have truly progressive elected officials in key local offices during the age of Trump. Share it on Facebook!

Tax march: Protesters in Philly call on Trump to release tax returns | Philadelphia Inquirer
Whatever happened to Trump's tax returns? | Al Dia

Convictions At Any Cost

Walter Ogrod has been behind bars since 1992 and on death row for 20 years. He was convicted in the 1988 murder of a little girl, near Oxford Circle. That the case is a tragedy is not in doubt. The extent of the tragedy is.  

Will Bunch’s article (Daily News, March 28) describes the efforts of author Tom Lowenstein “to show that Philadelphia police and prosecutors had used a false confession and the beyond-dubious involvement of a notorious and later-discredited jailhouse snitch to solve a high-profile murder by locking up an innocent man.”

That is how the article describes it.

Facts, Not Favoritism

As District Attorney, I won’t tolerate double standards. The law applies equally to all, regardless of livelihood. While it is inappropriate for any candidate to pre-judge a case under consideration by the District Attorney’s Office, this article clearly points to the need for a District Attorney who will look closely at the facts and act without favoritism.

See article: 
Off-duty cop ran over Danny Dimitri. Was there drag racing? 
(Mike Newall, Philadelphia Inquirer, March 24, 2017)

Police Secrecy Bill: Dangerously Misguided

Once again the Pennsylvania House has passed a bill to hide the names of police officers responsible for killings or serious injuries from public view.

House Bill 27, passed on March 20, would impede basic transparency and damage the trust between communities and the hard-working officers who serve them. It has been accurately called the police secrecy bill by the ACLU of Pennsylvania. Far from creating a “cooling-off” period, it would anger people in the communities where such incidents most frequently take place. That anger would be justified.

Furthermore it is a solution in search of a problem.

Pursuing Death Does Not Equal Justice

Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala yesterday took a courageous and reasonable step in using her discretion not to pursue the death penalty in homicide matters. I applaud her decision because she recognizes, as I do, that pursuing the death penalty is “not in the best interests of this community or in the best interests of justice."

Unfortunately, my fellow candidates have declined to pledge the same, despite the fact that Philadelphia is the only northeastern city where pursuing the death penalty is still possible, and despite evidence that capital punishment has cost our city and state a billion dollars since the 1970s. This money would be better spent on public education, social workers, and addiction treatment programs, things that prevent crime and actually do make us safer.  In human terms, this money is the equivalent of 500 new public school teachers per year statewide every year since the 1970s.

Finally, it is worth remembering that since 1962 no one in Pennsylvania has been executed against their will, while six people on death row have been exonerated.

An obligation to seek justice

The District Attorney’s first priority is providing equal justice for all, regardless of skin color. It’s just as true when it comes to the color of a uniform.

Vice journalist Daniel Denvir’s story, Why Cops Don’t Get Charged When They Lie, clearly outlines why the District Attorney’s Office must be taken in a new direction. While there are excellent attorneys in that office, there is also a culture that allows a small number of Philadelphia police officers to deprive the people of our city of their right to equal justice and to tarnish the majority of officers who uphold their oath to defend the Constitution and faithfully serve the public.

Mr. Denvir’s story also clearly demonstrates that there are officers who break the so-called ‘Blue Wall of Silence’ by doing the right thing. They are to be commended. The District Attorney’s Office needs to have their back. The silence (and sometimes the word) of my fellow candidates on this issue is revealing.

I have been pursuing Section 1983 lawsuits against police for police abuse, corruption, and false convictions for over 30 years. District Attorneys work under an ethical obligation to seek justice, and a constitutional limitation that requires disclosing exculpatory information (e.g. prior deception by witnesses that is known to the prosecutor).

If I am elected District Attorney, officers who lie in police paperwork and those who lie under oath would be disqualified from testifying.


U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a notorious racist, continues to demean his office — now by untruthfulness while under oath. With a wildly authoritarian President, AG Sessions is exacerbating the problem.

Every day it becomes clearer that local offices, including District Attorney offices, need to be filled with real progressives whose careers demonstrate their willingness to resist government's unjust and un-American exercise of power. The law must apply equally to everyone, from the U.S. Attorney General to local police and suspects. This the definition of justice, and justice makes us safer.

Prosecuting hate crimes

This hate crime occurred in Philadelphia a few days after a similar, anti-Semitic attack on the cemetery in St. Louis where my grandparents, two Russian Jewish immigrants who came to the U.S. by boat in the early 1900's, are buried.

Criminals on the "alt-right" (a word that anti-Semites like to hide behind these days): Philadelphians of good will are watching. So is the whole world. In the Trump era, Philadelphia's District Attorney will need to resist — resist hate, resist hate crimes, and resist the Trump administration's attacks on free speech and the free press.

As a civil rights lawyer known for over 25 years of defending protest and our First Amendment, my ability to vigorously protect free speech is clear. As a civil and criminal attorney known for 30 years of knocking down bullies to protect the underdog, my ability to vigorously prosecute hate crimes is even clearer. Join me.

Justice and safety, together

Safety is not achieved by abandoning rights, as old school law enforcement loves to claim (consistent with their agenda of eliminating individual rights). The choice between safety and rights is and always has been false.

Safety is achieved through justice, which means honoring individual rights. It's both—safety and justice, not 'either safety or justice'. Here, Philadelphia's low homicide investigation clearance rates directly result from distrust between police and the neighborhoods they protect—neighbors whose rights have been disregarded too often by law enforcement.